The Leicester Coronavirus restrictions: COVID-19 emergency regulations

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On 29 June 2020, the government imposed a local lockdown in Leicester after a surge in COVID-19 cases in the area.

This announcement was followed on 3 July 2020 by the coming into force of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Leicester) Regulations 2020 (the Leicester Restrictions Regulations), which imposed severe limitations on business operations and freedom of movement in Leicester.

The Leicester Restrictions Regulations are of wider importance because they set an example of how the government will give effect to local lockdowns in England as and when they become necessary.

For more information on the latest Restrictions Regulations applying to England as a whole, which came into on 4 July 2020, access our update.

How is Leicester defined?

The Leicester Restrictions Regulations defines “the protected area” with reference to post code districts listed in Schedule 1, namely all postcodes in LE1 and listed postcodes in LE2. This formulaic approach will make it easy to make new regulations applying to other cities or geographical areas in England as the need arises.

How long will the Leicester Restrictions Regulations be in force?

The Leicester Restrictions Regulations came into force on 4 July 2020, and must be reviewed by the health secretary at least once every 14 days. The first review be carried out by 18 July 2020. As soon as the health secretary concludes that any particular restrictions are no longer necessary, he must terminate those particular restrictions.

Food and drink businesses

Any food and drink business in the protected area (including restaurants, cafes, canteens other than those for certain health and care facilities, workplaces and prisons, bars, hotel bars and members’ clubs, and pubs) must close during the emergency period.

Services businesses

Any business or service which is specifically listed in the Leicester Restrictions Regulations must cease to carry on that business or to provide that service in the protected area during the emergency period.

Specified businesses that must close include, for example, cinemas, theatres, nightclubs, nail bars and salons, hair salons, barbers, tanning booths and salons, spas, beauty salons, massage parlours, tattoo and piercing parlours, skating rinks, and swimming pools.

Retail

Many shops and essential retailers may remain open, including supermarkets and convenience stores, pharmacies, hardware and building supplies stores, petrol stations and post offices.

However, any retail business or service to the public in the protected area must close unless it is expressly permitted to remain open. Such businesses may continue to operate by making deliveries or providing services in response to orders received online, by phone or by other specified means.

Accommodation businesses

Businesses providing holiday accommodation in the protected area, including hotels, hostels, bed and breakfast accommodation, holiday apartments, campsites, caravan parks or boarding houses, must cease to carry on that business during the emergency period.

Exceptions are made, including for the accommodation of any person who is unable to return to their usual home and for people providing critical services.

Places of worship

Any place of worship in the protected area must close during the emergency period, except for permitted purposes, including for funerals, to broadcast an act of worship, to provide essential voluntary services or urgent public support, for childcare, or for private prayer by individuals.

Community centres

Any community centre in the protected area must ensure that, during the emergency period, the community centre is closed except where it is used to provide essential voluntary activities or urgent public support services, or for childcare.

Crematoriums

Any crematorium in the protected area must ensure that, during the emergency period, the crematorium is closed to members of the public, except for funerals or burials. This does not apply to the grounds surrounding a crematorium.

General restrictions on movement

No person who lives in the protected area may, without reasonable excuse, stay overnight at any place other than the place where they are living or where their linked household is living. No person who lives outside the protected area may, without reasonable excuse, stay overnight at any place within the protected area other than the place where their linked household is living.

Examples of a reasonable excuse include if a person:

  • needs to stay elsewhere to attend a funeral;
  • is an elite sportsperson who needs to stay elsewhere for the purposes of training or competition;
  • is moving house;
  • needs to stay elsewhere for work purposes; or
  • needs to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm.

Linked households

The Leicester Restrictions Regulations permits a person to form a bubble with a linked household and so stay overnight at the home of that linked household.

Public gatherings

Under Regulation 6 of the Leicester Restrictions Regulations, during the emergency period, no person may participate in a gathering in the protected area which takes place in a public or private place outdoors, and consists of more than six people, or indoors, and consists of two or more people.

Examples of exceptions include the following:

  • where all the persons in the gathering are members of the same household;
  • for a funeral;
  • an elite sportsperson who needs to stay elsewhere for the purposes of training or competition;
  • where the gathering is reasonably necessary for work purposes;
  • where the gathering takes place at an educational facility and is reasonably necessary for the purposes of education.

Criminal offence for non-compliance

Failure to comply with the Leicester Restrictions Regulations is a criminal offence. Individuals and businesses operating in the protected area in Leicester should, therefore, ensure they understand the rules, including the latest amendments.

Conclusion

We’re supporting businesses and public sector bodies affected by the new emergency measures enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please get in touch with Paul Stone or Paul Hardy, or your usual DLA Piper contact, for more help and advice.