New Coronavirus Laws: What are they?

What is the new law and when did it come into force?

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 came into force on Thursday 26th March 2020. Under the new law, police officers can order members of the public to go home, leave an area, and have the power to disperse a group.

What does the new law say?

The Regulations impose a number of new laws but the most notable ones are:

Section 4 – Businesses cannot sell food or drink for consumption on the premises. They either have to close or must only sell food and drink to be taken away.

Section 6 – No person may leave their home without a reasonable excuse. A ‘reasonable excuse’ includes: obtaining basic necessities (including food and medical supplies), to take exercise alone or with other members of their household, to seek medical assistance, to care for a vulnerable person, to donate blood, to travel to work where it is not possible to work from home, to attend a funeral in limited circumstances, to attend Court, to move house or to avoid injury.

Section 7 – No person can participate in a gathering in a public place of more than two people unless in very limited circumstances (such as to attend a funeral, or if it is essential for work).

What happens if you break the new laws?

Police officers (including Police Community Support Officers) now have the power to enforce the above requirements. Any person found to be breaching the above new requirements will be committing a criminal offence and is liable to prosecution through the Courts. If a person pleads guilty or is found guilty, they can be fined. Instead of prosecution, the police have the power to issue a Fixed Penalty Notice for £60.

There is also a new offence of obstructing a police officer (or PSCO) when they are attempting to enforce the new laws. This offence is also punishable by a fine.

Legal advice & representation

If you are charged or summonsed to Court under the new Coronavirus laws, contact our team for specialist advice and representation. We are available 24/7 to represent clients detained at the police station free of charge: 0333 016 3333.