What do the latest coronavirus laws say?

Coronavirus laws
Coronavirus laws - (Copyright PA Wire)
15:59pm, Thu 24 Sep 2020
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Laws bringing in another raft of restrictions in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus have been set out by the Government.

Some of the legislation is already in force, while other elements begin on Monday.

The PA news agency takes a look at what some of the latest regulations say:

– What has changed? 

The Government has published a series of fresh legal documents which replace existing coronavirus laws.

Covid-19 regulations at-a-glance - (Copyright PA Graphics)

A number of different regulations have been published which introduce several restrictions on businesses, tougher rules on face masks and social gatherings and higher fines for those who flout them.

– What do the rules say on face masks?

Under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place and on Public Transport) (England) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2020, customers must wear face coverings in taxis and private hire vehicles if they are using them as a mode of public transport.

This law came into force on Wednesday.

Under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place and on Public Transport) (England) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 2020, people must wear face coverings in hospitality venues, theatres, restaurants, bars and pubs unless they need to remove them to eat or drink.

Staff, or anyone else providing a service, in shops, cafes, restaurants, bars and pubs must also wear face coverings when in close proximity to members of the public, unless they are exempt or have a reasonable excuse.

Fines of £200 for the first offence will be imposed for those who break the law, rising to a maximum of £6,400 for repeat offences.

This rule came into force on Thursday.

Daily confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the UK - (Copyright PA Graphics)

– What about going to a restaurant? 

Under the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) (Amendment) (No. 5) Regulations 2020, certain businesses like restaurants and pubs must close between 10pm and 5am.

This also applies to places like social clubs, casinos, bowling alleys, bingo halls, amusement arcades and other indoor leisure facilities.

After hours they can continue to sell food or drink for consumption off the premises between those hours by making deliveries, through websites, on the phone or by text and post.

The law also says orders can be passed to a customer who collects food and drink in a vehicle, and the order is passed to them without them leaving the vehicle.

When they are open they must serve customers at their tables.

Cinemas, theatres or concert halls are not prevented from remaining open after 10pm “for the purpose of concluding a performance” which began earlier.

Motorway service stations are exempt and can continue operating.

Fines for flouting these rules begin at £1,000 and could rise to up to £10,000 for repeat offences.

These restrictions came into force at 5am on Thursday.

– Are there any changes to the so-called rule of six on social gatherings?

Yes. Under the same law, adult indoor sports gatherings are no longer exempt from the rule of six, apart from some exemptions.

Fines for flouting the rule of six on social gatherings have risen to £200, rising to a maximum of £6,400 for repeat offences.

What about family events?

From Monday, wedding ceremonies will be restricted to 15 people, but only six at receptions.

Thirty people will still be allowed to attend a funeral.

– Do businesses have to abide by any other new rules?Yes.

Forthcoming legislation yet to be published will require businesses to abide by “Covid-secure” arrangements or face higher fines if they do not.

Self-isolation for people with symptoms will be mandatory, with companies ensuring employees comply.

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