Changes to local authority powers and duties Health protection and business COVID security resulting from Coronavirus Regulations 2020

Changes to local authority powers and duties resulting from the Coronavirus Act 2020 COVER
This is a guide to the provisions of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Local Authority Enforcement Powers and Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020, the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020, and to new, modified or suspended local government powers and duties applicable to local authorities in England only up to 31st December 2020.

Introduction

This is a guide to the provisions of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Local Authority Enforcement Powers and Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020, the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020, and to new, modified or suspended local government powers and duties applicable to local authorities in England only up to 31st December 2020. It is a guide and not legal advice and so if you are unsure or have any concerns about the meaning of or applicability of the Act or any of the provisions made under the Act you should seek your own detailed legal advice.

Information in this document can also be downloaded as a Comma Separated Variables (CSV) spreadsheet.

New duties

Function(s): Administration and Government – Commercial activities

Business and service delivery - Coronavirus tier restrictions

Where a local authority runs a business or provides a service, it must have regard to the Schedules of the Regulations which describe which businesses and services are affected and to what extent depending upon which of the three tiers that local authority’s area is in.

Legislation: Regulation 8 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020

Notes:
Applies in: England from 02/12/2020 until 02/02/2021
Applies to: All local authorities in England

New powers

Function(s): Community safety - Emergencies

COVID secure business obligations - Coronavirus Improvement Notice (CIN) 

A Coronavirus Improvement Notice can be issued by a local authority when a business is failing to fulfil a provision set out in the relevant coronavirus regulations. This will often be the first step for local authority enforcement officers to encourage businesses to remedy unsafe practices.

A CIN will be applied for a minimum of 48 hours. Its actual duration will be at the discretion of the local authority enforcement officer.

Legislation: Regulation 2 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Local Authority Enforcement Powers and Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020

Notes:
Applies in: England from 02/12/2020 until 01/06/2021
Applies to: All local authorities in England

COVID secure business obligations - Coronavirus Immediate Restriction Notice (CIRN)

A Coronavirus Immediate Restriction Notice can be issued by enforcement officers where rapid action is needed to close a premises or restrict an activity to stop the spread of the virus, without first issuing a CIN to stop the spread of the virus.

Closure will be for a 48-hour period initially. The local authority will be required to review the notice. A CIRN can be withdrawn or allowed to expire where the premise has taken necessary steps to remedy unsafe practices.

Where necessary, a local authority can decide to issue a CRN at the end of the 48 hours, so that the premises is required to close for a further 7-day period, or where it is assessed that the premises is causing a serious and imminent threat to public health, a direction can be issued under separate regulations.

Legislation: Regulation 2 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Local Authority Enforcement Powers and Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020

Notes:
Applies in: England from 02/12/2020 until 01/06/2021
Applies to: All local authorities in England

COVID secure business obligations - Coronavirus Restriction Notice (CRN) 

A Coronavirus Restriction Notice may be issued by a local authority when there has been a breach of the provisions of the relevant coronavirus regulations, and a premises has failed to comply with the terms of a Coronavirus Improvement Notice, where this non-compliance creates a risk of exposure to coronavirus.

Following the 7-day period of application, a CRN can be withdrawn or allowed to expire where the premise has taken necessary steps to remedy unsafe practices.

Legislation: Regulation 2 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Local Authority Enforcement Powers and Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020

Notes:
Applies in: England from 02/12/2020 until 01/06/2021
Applies to: All local authorities in England

COVID secure business obligations - fixed penalty notices

A local authority officer designated for the purposes of this regulation may issue a fixed penalty notice to any person that the officer reasonably believes has committed an offence under this Part and is (in the case of an individual) aged 18 or over.

No more than one fixed penalty notice may be issued in relation to a failure to comply with a single Coronavirus Improvement Notice, Coronavirus Immediate Restriction Notice or Coronavirus Restriction Notice.

Legislation: Regulation 8 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Local Authority Enforcement Powers and Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020

Notes:
Applies in: England from 02/12/2020 until 01/06/2021
Applies to: All local authorities in England

COVID secure business obligations - prosecutions

Where a recipient issued with a Coronavirus Improvement Notice, a Coronavirus Immediate Restriction Notice or a Coronavirus Restriction Notice fails to comply with such a notice the local authority may bring about proceedings for an offence. 

Proceedings may not be initiated until the end of a period of 28 days from the day after the notice was issued and may only be initiated where the appropriate fixed penalty has been paid before the end of this period.

Legislation: Regulation 6 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Local Authority Enforcement Powers and Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020

Notes: 
Applies in: England from 02/12/2020 until 01/06/2021
Applies to: All local authorities in England

Coronavirus regulations, all tiers - fixed penalty notices

An authorised person may issue a fixed penalty notice to any person that the authorised person reasonably believes has committed an offence under these Regulations and is (in the case of an individual) aged 18 or over.

A fixed penalty notice is a notice offering the person to whom it is issued the opportunity of discharging any liability to conviction for the offence by payment of a fixed penalty to an authority specified in the notice.

The amount and conditions of issue of any fixed penalty notice are as specified in Regulations.

Legislation: Regulation 11 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020

Notes: 
Applies in: England from 02/12/2020 until 01/06/2021
Applies to: All local authorities in England

Coronavirus regulations, all tiers - enforcement

A local authority may designate a person to enforce any of the restrictions mentioned in these regulations.

Legislation: Regulation 9 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020

Notes: 
Applies in: England from 02/12/2020 until 01/06/2021
Applies to: All local authorities in England