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English Regulations from 4 July

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ForTheLoveOf

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The Government has finally published the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) Regulations 2020, which replace the previous Regulations, and come into force on 4 July.

In summary, all previous restrictions are revoked and replaced with the following three restrictions:
  • Regulation 4, which requires certain businesses such as nightclubs, swimming pools and indoor gyms to remain closed.
  • Regulation 5, which sets a limit of 30 people to gatherings "in a private dwelling" (which includes attached gardens), in public open places, as well as to indoor raves, with certain exceptions*.
  • Regulation 6, which permits the Secretary of State to restrict access to public outdoor places.
Notably, there is no limit to the number of households in a gathering. The limit is 30 people. Unsurprisingly, the Government guidelines are once again misleading in both regards.

I imagine Regulation 6 is intended to allow the Government to ban people from going to the beach in their thousands as happened in Bournemouth recently.

These new Regulations mean that life is virtually back to normal - from a legal perspective.

*This is a highly nuanced restriction. The limit of 30 people does not apply to a gathering set up by an organisation (business, charity etc.), or gatherings in public outdoor places operated by organisations as visitor attractions or that are part of organisations' operational premises. Neither does it apply to gatherings taking place on private property other than dwellings (whether indoors or outdoors), or those organised by organisation where a risk assessment has been undertaken and all reasonable measures have been taken to limit the risk of transmission of the coronavirus (social distancing etc.). All previous exceptions, e.g. reasonably necessary work or childcare gatherings, plus a few other niche ones, also apply.
 
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yorkie

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I wonder if sports centres will reopen; there is a sports centre in York which includes a swimming pool and gym which will be closed, but also outdoor pitches, it sounds like there is nothing stopping people playing tennis and football, cricket, hockey etc on the relevant outdoor pitches?

So, to clarify, playing a game of football, let's say 6-a-side, would be absolutely legal from tomorrow? But just not 'recommended' due to social distancing guidelines? I wonder if we're going to see the bizarre situation where you can't hire a pitch for that purpose but it's totally legal to go to a park and do the same thing.

I can't see myself avoiding playing football for much longer, though I am obviously waiting until it's legal to do so.
 

ForTheLoveOf

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I wonder if sports centres will reopen; there is a sports centre in York which includes a swimming pool and gym which will be closed, but also outdoor pitches, it sounds like there is nothing stopping people playing tennis and football, cricket, hockey etc on the relevant outdoor pitches?
Indoor sports centres can't reopen, but outdoor sports facilities can. All the businesses required to remain closed are those providing indoor services, except for swimming pools. So yes, playing any kind of sport is permissible.

So, to clarify, playing a game of football, let's say 6-a-side, would be absolutely legal from tomorrow? But just not 'recommended' due to social distancing guidelines? I wonder if we're going to see the bizarre situation where you can't hire a pitch for that purpose but it's totally legal to go to a park and do the same thing.
Yes, absolutely legal. The guidelines suggest a limit of 6 people, and if there are people who are particularly at risk of the virus included in either team then you may wish to bear that suggestion in mind, but otherwise it can safely be ignored. If you're unable to rent an outdoor pitch to play football, it certainly wouldn't be the first time during this pandemic that a business has gone beyond the law in limiting what you can do!

I can't see myself avoiding playing football for much longer, though I am obviously waiting until it's legal to do so.
It's legal, so it's purely a question of whether or not you can find somewhere to do it!
 

Starmill

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Gotta love publishing Regulations that apply to the whole of England, except for listed postcodes or properties in Leicester, 16 hours before pubs have been told to plan to reopen (or not told, depending on how you look at it).
 

ForTheLoveOf

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Gotta love publishing Regulations that apply to the whole of England, except for listed postcodes or properties in Leicester, 16 hours before pubs have been told to plan to reopen (or not told, depending on how you look at it).
Indeed. This legislation isn't some labarynthine beast; it's pretty much a copy and paste job from the previous Regulations, with a few changes. How it can have taken the Government quite this long to get it published is beyond me; it means that businesses and people have come to rely on inaccurate Government guidance instead, as that is inevitably published much sooner!
 

James H

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Notably, there is no limit to the number of households in a gathering. The limit is 30 people. Unsurprisingly, the Government guidelines are once again misleading in both regards.
I am no fan of the prime minister but he did make it clear at his press conference on 23 June that there was going to be a gap opened up between the advice and the legal position
From 4 July, your household will be able to meet with one other household at a time, including staying over.

This can be indoors or outside, at your home, in a restaurant or pub, or in paid accommodation.

I want to stress you should remain socially distant from anyone outside your household.

For meeting outdoors, you can continue to meet in a park or a garden in a group of up to six people, drawn from six different households.

Again, at all times you should maintain social distancing from anyone outside your household.

As we give people back more control over their lives, we will be asking them to follow guidance on limiting their social contact, rather than forcing them to do so through legislation.

And this obviously requires everyone to act responsibly, which I have no doubt they will do. It will still be possible for the police to break up large and irresponsible gatherings. But neither the police themselves, or the public that they serve, want virtually every aspect of our behaviour to be subject to the criminal law.
 

ForTheLoveOf

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I am no fan of the prime minister but he did make it clear at his press conference on 23 June that there was going to be a gap opened up between the advice and the legal position

How many people will have listened to that statement, and will remember what Johnson was trying to imply, as compared to the number reading the guidance (which makes no admission that it is misleading about the law)?

For better or worse, the Scottish government made clear that the 5-mile "limit" was an advisory limit and not a law. And that is the way I think it should be done. By all means, encourage people to limit the size of gatherings if you must. But don't lie about what the law is. It seems that we, as a society, have become far too tolerant of misinformation due to this crisis...
 

yorkie

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So, to be clear, from 4th July we are 'advised' to meet in groups of no more than 6, and practise social distancing where practicable, but we are allowed to meet in groups of no more than 30, with no requirement to social distance?

So a football game exceeding 3-a-side is not recommended but is permissible?
 

ForTheLoveOf

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So, to be clear, from 4th July we are 'advised' to meet in groups of no more than 6, and practise social distancing where practicable, but we are allowed to meet in groups of no more than 30, with no requirement to social distance?

So a football game exceeding 3-a-side is not recommended but is permissible?
Correct and correct :)
 

Starmill

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Social distancing hasn't been in the law at all I don't think, at any point.

Except perhaps until 4th July 2020 as part of the risk assessment requirement in Regulation 5 (3)
 

sheff1

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How it can have taken the Government quite this long to get it published is beyond me; it means that businesses and people have come to rely on inaccurate Government guidance instead, as that is inevitably published much sooner!

That is exactly the plan. The government hope that many (most) people believe the guidance is actually the law and hence follow it without question. Media quoting "rules" when they are actually referring to guidance, reinforce the belief - disappointingly the BBC are prime culprits.

That way the government get what they want without introducing legislation which could be challenged in court.
 

ForTheLoveOf

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Social distancing hasn't been in the law at all I don't think, at any point.

Except perhaps until 4th July 2020 as part of the risk assessment requirement in Regulation 5 (3)
Regulations 5(3)(a) and 5(5) are a total mess. The only circumstances I can see under which they could ever come into effect, would be if an organisation wanted to organise a gathering of more than 30 people on a vessel not being used for public transport.
 

MikeWM

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Good that the most restrictive set of regulations ever in our history have been finally binned (except for the good people of Leicester...)

The new #6 is troubling though, and feels like significant overreach.

And yet again, both this and the Leicester regs have been pushed through by ministerial fiat as 'too urgent to consult Parliament', which should deeply concern anyone who cares about the state of democracy in this country.
 

ForTheLoveOf

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Good that the most restrictive set of regulations ever in our history have been finally binned (except for the good people of Leicester...)

The new #6 is troubling though, and feels like significant overreach.

And yet again, both this and the Leicester regs have been pushed through by ministerial fiat as 'too urgent to consult Parliament', which should deeply concern anyone who cares about the state of democracy in this country.
Indeed. Whilst Regulation 6 is troubling, in practice the Government almost certainly already has the powers to close individual areas under collected different parts of legislation, but just chose to enumerate this one power because it made it easier to use and enforce. I would like to hope that it won't be needed or used.

The government is quite rightly being taken to task over its approach to the Regulations by a crowdfunded group including Simon Dolan. One of the complaints is indeed regarding the misuse of emergency powers for matters that there was plenty of time to have debated in Parliament first. Also the fact that the government has steadfastly refused to publish details of the review of restrictions that they are required to undertake every 28 (formerly 21) days.

Even during the passage of the Coronavirus Act through the House of Lords, I seem to recall that one Lord said that it should not be happening with such indecent haste and that effectively they had become an exercise in rubber stamping. I agree that this has profound implications on our democracy. On the other hand, a situation as fractitious as the US has, with a partisan split of control between the lower and upper House, is also not helpful.
 

Bletchleyite

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It looks like the whole thing has been revoked:


Does anyone know where the replacement is? I thought it had been intended to amend it to, for example, keep gyms etc closed and apply the 30 person limit.

Edit: ah, here we go, there's a number 2:

 

Bletchleyite

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What a bin fire this is. Honestly.

Quite. It is difficult to imagine how it could be made any more cack-handed.

There are many things wrong with the Scottish and Welsh approaches which are being discussed in their own threads - but the thing they do have right is clarity and lack of obfuscation.
 

YorksDMU

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I’m still trying to understand it, but I remain totally confused, just so baffled by this new legislation. I’ll have yet another read of it, but it’s just all so confusing.
 

Nicholas43

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I’m still trying to understand it, but I remain totally confused, just so baffled by this new legislation ...
Me too. After a third coffee, I think it just says: meet up however you like with up to 29 other people, but not for a rave. Meet more than 29 if it's in a pub or if the event organizer has done a risk assessment. This is completely different from the guidance on the government website:
Moving forward, from 4 July, people will be trusted to continue acting responsibly by following this and related guidance, subject to an upper legal limit on gatherings…The overwhelming majority of the British public have complied with the regulations, and the wider guidance on how to keep them and their friends and family as safe as possible. Taking this into account, we trust people to continue acting responsibly, and to follow the guidance on what they should and should not do.

You should not:

  • gather indoors in groups of more than two households (your support bubble counts as one household) - this includes when dining out or going to the pub
  • gather outdoors in a group of more than six people from different households; gatherings larger than 6 should only take place if everyone is from just two households
  • interact socially with anyone outside the group you are attending a place with, even if you see other people you know, for example, in a restaurant, community centre or place of worship
  • hold or attend celebrations (such as parties) where it is difficult to maintain social distancing
 

Bletchleyite

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Me too. After a third coffee, I think it just says: meet up however you like with up to 29 other people, but not for a rave. Meet more than 29 if it's in a pub or if the event organizer has done a risk assessment. This is completely different from the guidance on the government website:

The first paragraph explains why it's different. I suspect it's also because it means the advice can be changed (both stricter and less strict as necessary) without faffing about legislating each time. The 30 limit can realistically stay in place for a much longer period.
 

ForTheLoveOf

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meet up however you like with up to 29 other people, but not for a rave
You can meet with 29 other people for an indoor rave, just not more than that number (and of course it may be an illegal rave anyway).

You can meet with an unlimited number of people in places other than private dwellings (including gardens), vessels and public open spaces (i.e. parks, beaches, roads). So if you rented a chalet or a warehouse for instance, you could hold a party as big as you liked.

Also, the 30 person limit does not apply to gatherings organised by entities, or taking place on land under their control.
 

Nicholas43

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You can meet with 29 other people for an indoor rave, just not more than that number (and of course it may be an illegal rave anyway)…
Thanks. I'll need something stronger than coffee to make sense of that.
Meanwhile, anyone know why 30? To allow rugby? But doesn't that need 2×15 players plus referee and whatnot?
 

Bletchleyite

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Thanks. I'll need something stronger than coffee to make sense of that.
Meanwhile, anyone know why 30? To allow rugby? But doesn't that need 2×15 players plus referee and whatnot?

I believe it's just an arbitrary number that prevents Police having to knock on doors and deal with house parties (which would tend to be vastly below that in numbers) but prevents the organisation of major events and large parties which would be major vectors. It could as easily be 25 or 40.
 

MikeWM

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The government is quite rightly being taken to task over its approach to the Regulations by a crowdfunded group including Simon Dolan. One of the complaints is indeed regarding the misuse of emergency powers for matters that there was plenty of time to have debated in Parliament first. Also the fact that the government has steadfastly refused to publish details of the review of restrictions that they are required to undertake every 28 (formerly 21) days.

Yes, I’ve been following this. Great that someone is trying to do something. I don’t hold out a lot of hope - but then I didn’t for the Prorogation case last year either, so what do I know? :)

Even during the passage of the Coronavirus Act through the House of Lords, I seem to recall that one Lord said that it should not be happening with such indecent haste and that effectively they had become an exercise in rubber stamping. I agree that this has profound implications on our democracy. On the other hand, a situation as fractitious as the US has, with a partisan split of control between the lower and upper House, is also not helpful.

Yes, it is tough to see what is best. I don’t like the lack of separation of powers in the UK - a party that can command a decent-sized majority in the House of Commons can run effectively a dictatorship for five years if it so chooses. But then you look at systems that do properly separate powers, and they have many issues too.
 

ForTheLoveOf

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What's a 'entitie'? Could a sports event run with a crowd?
An entity in this instance would effectively be anything other than a private individual. To use the Regulations' definition:
a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body
 

Busaholic

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I imagine Regulation 6 is intended to allow the Government to ban people from going to the beach in their thousands as happened in Bournemouth recentl
But, of course, people DON'T go to the beach in their thousands, but in their ones,twos, threes, etc: it's the cumulative effect that leads to hundreds, even thousands being there. So do you (i.e. the local authority) say at some point 'right, the beach is full, and it's a one off, one on policy from now on' with, presumably, the police on standby for refuseniks? I'd imagine this will happen at some point, which won't be good news for places reliant on tourism of the traditional kind. Do you prioritise locals, or people who've booked holidays in the area, or those who've travelled out for the day as respite from unrelenting urban life? There's something to be said for all those, imo, but I wouldn't want to be the one exercising the prerogative.
 

Enthusiast

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I imagine Regulation 6 is intended to allow the Government to ban people from going to the beach in their thousands as happened in Bournemouth recently.
No it isn't and it won't do that.

If I go to the beach with Mrs Enthusiast and there are 30 people (who have arrived in twos/threes/fours) already there, that is not a "gathering" to which we add and therefore make illegal. That would be absurd. It would mean those there legally are suddenly there illegally following our arrival. If, however, 32 people gather together and head to the beach as one party to spend time there together that is a "gathering" (i.e. an assembly gathered together for a common purpose) and that is not allowed. It would also mean that the limit for people in a pub (however large), for example, would be 30 people. Again clearly absurd for mega-boozers which can comfortably accommodate a hundred customers properly socially distanced. Definition of a gathering from Reg 6:

(6) For the purposes of this regulation—

(a)there is a gathering when two or more people are present together in the same place in order to engage in any form of social interaction with each other, or to undertake any other activity with each other;


If I go to the beach or pub with Mrs Enthusiast I usually don't intend to engage in any form of social interaction or activity with those already there whom I don't know.

Having said that, the legislators could not make Reg 6 more complex if they tried and how they expect the Man on the Clapham Omnibus (or some police officers) to follow such nonsense is a little unclear.
 

ForTheLoveOf

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No it isn't and it won't do that.

If I go to the beach with Mrs Enthusiast and there are 30 people (who have arrived in twos/threes/fours) already there, that is not a "gathering" to which we add and therefore make illegal. That would be absurd. It would mean those there legally are suddenly there illegally following our arrival. If, however, 32 people gather together and head to the beach as one party to spend time there together that is a "gathering" (i.e. an assembly gathered together for a common purpose) and that is not allowed. It would also mean that the limit for people in a pub (however large), for example, would be 30 people. Again clearly absurd for mega-boozers which can comfortably accommodate a hundred customers properly socially distanced. Definition of a gathering from Reg 6:

(6) For the purposes of this regulation—

(a)there is a gathering when two or more people are present together in the same place in order to engage in any form of social interaction with each other, or to undertake any other activity with each other;


If I go to the beach or pub with Mrs Enthusiast I usually don't intend to engage in any form of social interaction or activity with those already there whom I don't know.

Having said that, the legislators could not make Reg 6 more complex if they tried and how they expect the Man on the Clapham Omnibus (or some police officers) to follow such nonsense is a little unclear.
I think you may have mixed up Regulations 5 and 6. Regulation 5 gives rise to the limit on the size of gatherings. You are correct that this could not be used to stop people from going to the beach unless they went in a party of 31 or more.

However Regulation 6 gives the Secretary of State the power to limit access to certain public open spaces and accordingly this could be used to, for example, limit access to Bournemouth Beach to those who are residents of Dorset (without giving them any ideas!).
 
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