On the 22 February 2021 the Government announced the roadmap out of the national lockdown. The ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021’, setting out the roadmap out of the current lockdown for England document that can be found here: Gov.Uk.
The plan is made up of four parts, with the first part dealing with the reopening of schools and colleges, which began on 8 March 2021.
The next stage of the roadmap began on 29 March 2021 with outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts, and open-air swimming pools, being allowed to reopen, and people are able to take part in formally organised outdoor sports.
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021. No. 364) have been laid. These regulations came into force on 29 March 2021 and replace the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020.
The ‘Steps Regulations’ detail the restrictions that will be in place through the various stages of the roadmap. They also amend several other Regulations.
These Regulations require certain undertakings in the hospitality industry, to take measures to ensure that their customers follow the rules on social distancing.
These regulations impose a number of obligations on relevant persons, in order to protect against the risks arising from coronavirus. The main obligations are as follows.
Regulation 5 provides who the regulations apply to, in particular to a relevant person (as defined in regulation 4) who occupies relevant premises (also as defined in regulation 4). The regulation makes clear that where relevant premises are hired or used by more than one relevant person on a temporary basis, any obligations under the regulations will apply to that person for the time during which they hire or use the premises.
Regulation 6 provides that relevant persons must display and make available a QR code at relevant premises they occupy or operate to enable certain individuals who seek to enter the premises (in the circumstances in regulation 9) to scan that QR code.
Regulation 7 provides the requirement to request certain details (as set out in regulation 10), where an individual seeks to enter relevant premises (in a case set out in regulation 9), unless that individual is under 16 or has a mental or physical disability that means they are unable to provide the details.
Important NHS Advice
The NHS have advised that on the 24 September 2020 a new app for mass use will be released.
The app will be a critical enhancement of NHS Test and Trace in England, and the Test, Trace and Protect service in Wales. It will allow the NHS to know quicker if we’re at risk of the virus, so we can take action, fast, to protect our communities and the ones we love. The app will provide users with local risk information, alert them if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive and very importantly has a built-in QR scanner to check-in at venues.
So we need businesses and venues across England and Wales who will require QR code posters to use the time between now and that launch date to get prepared. To see the Guidance (pdf 1.5 Mb) and Poster Guidance (pdf 1.5 Mb).
These Regulations amend the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place) (England) Regulations 2020 such that employees and other persons providing services in public houses will be required to wear face coverings when they are in close proximity to members of the public unless they are exempt or have a reasonable excuse.
These Regulations amend the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place) (England) Regulations 2020 to include theatres, restaurants, bars and public houses in the scope of the “relevant places” where members of the public are required to wear face coverings, except for in some limited cases such as when it is reasonably necessary for a person to remove their face covering to eat or drink.
They also require employees and other persons providing services in certain “relevant places”, including in shops, cafes, restaurants, bars and public houses to wear face coverings when they are in close proximity to members of the public unless they are exempt or have a reasonable excuse.
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 791). The Regulations require members of the public to wear face coverings whilst inside a relevant place specified in the Regulations, except in certain limited cases, from Friday 24 July.