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By | March 22, 2020

Breaking News – What you need to know – The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closure) (England) Regulations 2020

As previously reported the Coronavirus Bill, which currently includes specific powers to issue directions relating to events, gatherings and premises, is making its way through Parliament it’s 2nd reading is scheduled for 23rd March.

Before these indicated powers become law the Government have today (Saturday 21st March) laid before Parliament the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closure) (England) Regulations 2020 which came into force (became law) at 2pm this afternoon.

These regulations arise from the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 are made in response to the serious and imminent threat to public health which is posed by the incidence and spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARSCoV-2) in England. The aforementioned Cornavirus Bill will, when given Royal ascent, will apply across the United Kingdom.

Regulation 2 states:

​2.1 A person who is responsible for carrying on a business which is listed in Part 1 of the Schedule must-
a. during the relevant period—

 i.      close any premises, or part of the premises, in which food or drink are sold for consumption on those premises, and

ii.      cease selling food or drink for consumption on its premises; or

​b. if the business sells food or drink for consumption off the premises, cease selling food or drink for consumption on its premises during the relevant period.

2.2 For the purposes of paragraph (2.1)(a), food or drink sold by a hotel or other accommodation as part of room service is not to be treated as being sold for consumption on its premises…..

NB the position on external areas – An area adjacent to the premises of the business where seating is made available for customers of the business (whether or not by the business) will be treated as part of the premises of that business, for the purpose of these regulations.

Any responsible person who contravenes these regulations commits an offence.

The regulations will expire, unless renewed, after 6 months.

The premises listed in schedule 1 are:

  1. Restaurants, including restaurants and dining rooms in hotels or members clubs.
  2. Cafes, including workplace canteens, but not including—
    a. cafes or canteens at a hospital, care home or school;
    b. canteens at a prison or an establishment intended for use for naval, military or air force purposes or for the purposes of the Department of the Secretary of State responsible for defence;
    c. services providing food or drink to the homeless.
  3. Bars, including bars in hotels or members’ clubs.
  4. Public houses.

In addition the regulations require the following premises to close during the relevant period:

  1. Cinemas.
  2. Theatres.
  3. Nightclubs.
  4. Bingo halls.
  5. Concert halls.
  6. Museums and galleries.
  7. Casinos.
  8. Betting shops.
  9. Spas.
  10. Massage parlours.

Similar steps are anticipated in the devolved Parliaments, we shall aim to keep you updated.

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