03 Apr 2020

Policing brief in response to coronavirus Government legislation

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 came into force on 26 March 2020 and apply to England only. Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have equivalent legislation. The Regulations provide powers to a relevant person to require the closure of premises and businesses and restrict movement and gatherings.

Government guidance extends to social distancing measures and includes the following:

  • Stay at home, unless:
     shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine
     taking exercise – alone or with members of a household
     for any medical need, or to provide care to a vulnerable person
     travelling for work purposes, but only where they cannot work from home
  • Stop all public gatherings of more than two people, unless:
     those people live together
     the gatherings are essential for a work purpose
     they are providing assistance to a vulnerable person, providing emergency assistance, participating in legal proceedings or moving house (where this could not be rearranged)
  • Stop all social events, including weddings, baptisms and other religious ceremonies

There are two main parts to these regulations:

  1. Regulations affecting permitted retail premises and businesses
  2. Those relating to individuals, affecting movement and gatherings

Local Authorities, mainly through their Environmental Health and Trading Standards officers, will lead on enforcing and monitoring the closure of business premises and will be able to issue prohibition notices.

What is allowed

  • The sale of food and drink for consumption off premises.
  • Workplace canteens where there is no practical alternative.
  • Room service.
  • Using premises for broadcast to people outside.
  • Using premises for blood donation.
  • Providing accommodation for the homeless.
  • Using a place of worship for funerals (attended by immediate family, or where there are none, close friends), to broadcast an act of worship to people outside,
  • or to provide essential voluntary services.
  • Crematoriums for small gatherings.
  • Food retailers, including food markets, supermarkets, convenience stores, off-licences and corner shops.
  • Pharmacies and drugstores.
  • Newsagents.
  • Homeware, building supplies and hardware stores.
  • Petrol stations.
  • Car repair and MOT services.
  • Taxi or vehicle hire businesses.
  • Banks and building societies.
  • Post offices.
  • Funeral directors.
  • Laundrettes and dry cleaners.
  • Dental services, opticians, audiology services, chiropody, chiropractors, osteopaths and other medical or health services, including services relating to mental
  • health.
  • Veterinary surgeons and pet shops.
  • Storage and distribution facilities, including delivery drop-off points.
  • Car parks in towns or cities.
  • Public toilets.
  • Bicycle shops.
  • Agricultural supply shops.

What is not allowed

  • Serving food or drink to be consumed on premises.
  • Cinemas.
  • Theatres.
  • Nightclubs, bars, licensed premises.
  • Bingo halls.
  • Concert halls.
  • Museums and galleries.
  • Casinos.
  • Betting shops.
  • Spas.
  • Barbers and nail, beauty and hair salons.
  • Massage parlours.
  • Indoor skating rinks.
  • Tattoo parlours.
  • Car showrooms.
  • Auction houses.
  • Indoor fitness studios, gyms, swimming pools, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, soft-play areas and other indoor leisure centres or facilities.
  • Funfairs (whether outdoors or indoors).
  • Playgrounds, sports courts and outdoor gyms.
  • Outdoor markets (except for stalls selling food).
  • The provision of holiday accommodation, unless the accommodation is being used:
    • by someone who was resident before the regulations came into force and they are unable to go home as someone’s main residence
    • to support services to the homeless
    • to host blood donation sessions
    • for any other purpose requested by the Secretary of State or local authority


Click here to read the full guide