This week, we will see England plunged into yet another lockdown, in a bid by the government to regain control of the major threat to public health that is the coronavirus.
As of this Thursday, 5th November 2020, the new lockdown measures will highlight a number of additional restrictions that have been put into place to slow down the spread of the virus.
This is following a worrying spike in the number of daily cases, which means keeping a hold over the virus is becoming even more of a concern as we lead up to the colder, winter months.
As part of the new rules put in place by the government, we will see major restrictions on movement, socialising, gatherings and for businesses, with a number of non-essential shops being forced to close for a second time this year.
What are the new lockdown restrictions?
The main restrictions put into place for the second lockdown period are surrounding the ability to socialise with people who are outside of your home or support bubble.
According to the newly released guidelines, no person should be outside of the place where they are living without a ‘reasonable excuse’.
There are a number of ‘reasonable excuses’ that provide exceptions to these rules in certain circumstances.
As experienced in the first lockdown, we are still permitted to take exercise outside, either alone, with one or more members of our household, or in a public outdoor space with one other person who isn’t in our immediate household.
A person can still visit a place of worship, as long as social distancing measures are followed, and a person can undertake certain activities that involve the sale, purchase or letting of a residential property.
This includes visiting an estate or letting agents, show home or sales office, viewing a property where an online viewing is not possible, and arranging a house move.
Where working from home is not feasible, you will still be permitted to leave the home for:
- Training or education purposes
- To fulfil charity or voluntary work where remote working is not possible
- To provide emergency assistance for a person outside of your household
- To fulfil a legal obligation such as attending court
- Access public services including social services and the Department for Works and Pensions
- To access services such as food banks
People are also able to leave their homes under such circumstances including to receive medical treatment, donate blood, avoid injury, to give birth and to visit a close family member or friend who is receiving treatment in hospital.
You are also able to visit a person, a close family member or friend, who is believed to be dying in hospital, a care home, or at their own home.
For funerals, weddings and civil partnerships, the rules are explicit in that a gathering can only occur for the purposes of the ‘solemnisation of a marriage in accordance with the Registrar General’s License Act 1970’, or when at least one of the parties to the marriage is seriously ill and not expected to recover.
In this case, the gathering can consist of no more than six people, take place safely at a private dwelling or in a public outdoor space that is operated by a business or charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution.
For the purpose of the wellbeing of children, there are also certain exemptions that are a suitable reason for a person to leave their home.
These include the purpose of arranging contact between parents, children and their siblings, where the child does not live in the same household as their other parent, to access educational facilities, childcare and for the arrangements of prospective adopters.
A pet owner is also able to leave the house to access veterinary care for their pet, or to attend to the care of another person’s pet or animal that they look after.
What are the rules on gatherings?
As we are now facing another lockdown, in most cases, gatherings are not permitted, either indoors or outdoors.
This means that no person outside of your household must visit your home indoors and no outdoor gatherings of more than two people should go ahead, not including carers or children below the age of five.
No person may hold, or be involved in the holding of, a gathering of any kind, indoors or outdoors.
The only exception to the rules on gatherings are for:
- people in the same household
- members of two households which are linked
- gatherings for work purposes including voluntary or charitable services
- to provide medical attention to help someone avoid illness or injury
- for education and training
- to provide care for a vulnerable person
- legal obligations
- criminal justice accommodation
- charitable, benevolent and philanthropic support groups (other than in a private dwelling)
- respite care for a person with a disability or who is vulnerable
- or to facilitate a house move
Which businesses are restricted throughout the second lockdown?
All essential shops will continue to operate through the second lockdown period, but there will be a number of non-essential businesses which will have to temporarily close their doors.
Any businesses that provide food or drink for consumption on the premises will immediately have to shut their doors once again.
Other businesses that are expected to close include:
- non-essential retail shops such as clothing stores and tailors
- pubs and bars
- gyms and leisure centres
- beauty salons, which includes hair, nail salons and spas
- car showrooms
- travel agents
- and entertainment venues such as theatres, cinemas, museums, casinos, bowling alleys etc
What enforcement is in place to prosecute those who do not follow the new rules?
With even tighter restrictions being put into place, this means the enforcement of the rules has become even more severe.
Without a relevant reason, as discussed in this post, an authorised person can issue a fixed penalty notice to anyone who has committed an offence and is aged 18 or over.
If a person is issued with a fixed penalty notice, for a first offence, the charge is £100, if paid within a 14 day period. If not paid before or on the day of this 14 day period, the rate will double to £200.
On a second penalty notice, the charge will increase to £400, and as follows:
- £800 for the third fixed penalty notice
- £1,600 for the fourth fixed penalty notice
- £3,200 for the fifth fixed penalty notice
- and £6,400, if it is the sixth or any subsequent fixed penalty notice
Businesses who don’t follow these strict regulations will also receive penalties.
- £1,000 for the first fixed penalty notice issued
- £2,000 for the second fixed penalty notice issued
- £4,000 for the third fixed penalty notice issued
- and then £10,000 if the fixed penalty notice is the fourth or subsequent one issued to the person in respect of a business restriction offence.
The lockdown put in place today is set to last until Wednesday 2nd December 2020.
This may just be a minimum end date at this stage, as the fallout of the virus continues to cause government representatives to change their plan of action.
We will ensure to keep you updated on the latest restrictions, but if you’d like to speak with a member of our team, we are still available to be contacted on 0121 201 3765 or on email at firstname.lastname@example.org.