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Latest Lockdown Regulations: The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) (Amendment) (No. 5) Regulations 2020 have been published Published Date: 24/09/2020

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) (Amendment) (No. 5) Regulations 2020 apply in England and come into force at 05.00am on 24 September 2020, with the exception of the provisions relating to weddings, wedding receptions, funerals and significant event gatherings, which come into force on 28 September 2020.

This instrument makes a number of changes to give effect to the restrictions announced by the Prime Minister on 22 September, including:

Regulation 4A has been inserted into the Original Regulations to provide for the curfew on hospitality (the closure of businesses selling food or drink from 22:00 – 05:00):

  • Cinemas, theatres or concert hall can stay open beyond 22:00 to conclude a performance that has begun before 22:00 but would then be obliged to shut once the performance has concluded.
  • Businesses which are required to close will be able provide services via drive through or delivery
  • Exceptions are provided for certain types of business, such as motorway service areas and supermarkets, convenience stores and cornershops.

Regulation 4B requires certain businesses to:

  • Take reasonable steps to ensure that customers only consume food and drink while seated.
  • If the business serves alcohol for consumption on the premises, to only take orders for food and drink from customers who are seated and only serve them while they are seated. The business must also take reasonable steps to ensure that customers only consume food and drink while seated.

Regulation 5(3) amends the exemptions on gatherings restrictions:

  • Restricting attendance at weddings and wedding receptions to 15 (down from 30)
  • Removing exemptions for religious or belief based standalone life cycle ceremonies (except for funerals, which will have a limit of 30 people able to attend)
  • Removal of the exemption for indoor organised sport (although indoor sport which is organised for the purpose of allowing persons who have a disability to take part will continue to be exempt, subject to conditions)
  • Places numerical restrictions of a maximum of 15 participants in a support groups and restricts them from taking place in a private dwelling.

The Regulations are accompanied by a detailed Explanatory Memorandum setting out the changes.   The policy background section sets out what is being done and why, including the following statements:

‘Due to the transmission rate continuing to increase and the Chief Medical Officers upgrading the UK’s Covid-19 Alert Level from three to four, the Government has taken further actions which effect businesses and social gatherings. The closure of businesses selling food and drink from 22:00 to 05:00 (subject to exemptions) will reduce the likelihood of people not adhering to social distancing rules, with compliance often being affected by alcohol consumption. Similarly, mandating seated consumption of food and drink aims to reduce the amount of time that customers spend at the ordering counter, which in turn will reduce the risk of transmission from mingling with people you do not live with. Preventing ordering or collection of food and drink at a counter or bar in businesses that sell alcohol for consumption on the premises will limit the risk of transmission even further in premises that carry increased risk. Introducing fines for businesses who do not follow these restrictions will deter businesses from not following these new rules. The fine levels are higher than some other restrictions, but in line with approaches taken in relation to business restrictions

‘Increasing the restrictiveness of the exemptions to the limits on gatherings as set out above will also reduce the risk of transmission from large groups. The Government has looked to balance increasing the restrictiveness of social distancing to reduce the risk of transmission with maintaining exemptions for specific activities, reflecting the importance of activities such as weddings and funerals. The doubling of fine levels for breaches to the gathering limit look to deter people from not adhering to social distancing rules and reflects the seriousness of breaching the gathering limit.’