The snappily titled The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps etc.) (England) (Revocation and Amendment) Regulations 2021, SI 2021/848 (“the Instrument”), were made on 14th July 2021, laid before Parliament on 15th July 2021 and come into force at 11.55 p.m. on 18th July 2021. Extracts from the Explanatory Memorandum are reproduced below.
The instrument is made under the emergency procedure set out in section 45R of the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984 (c.22) (“the 1984 Act”), [3.1]. The Explanatory notes give details of the rationale behind each of these changes.
2. Purpose of the instrument
2.1 This instrument revokes the following regulations, so they are no longer in force from the end of 18 July 2021:
- the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021 (S.I. 2021/364) (“the Steps Regulations”);
- the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings on Public Transport) (England) Regulations 2020 (S.I. 2020/592) (“the Face Coverings on Public Transport Regulations”);
- the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place) (England) Regulations 2020 (S.I. 2020/791) (“the Face Coverings in a Relevant Place Regulations”);
- the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Collection of Contact Details etc and Related Requirements) Regulations 2020 (S.I. 2020/1005) (“the Collection of Contact Details Regulations”);
- the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Obligations of Undertakings) (England) Regulations 2020 (S.I. 2020/1008) (“the Obligations of Undertakings Regulations”);
- the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Local Authority Enforcement Powers and Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020 (S.I. 2020/1375) (“the LAEP Regulations”).
2.2 The instrument also revokes a number of other regulations which would be spent as a result of the revocation of these regulations.
2.3 This instrument amends the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No.3) Regulations 2020 (S.I. 2020/750) (“the No. 3 Regulations”) to extend the expiry date to the end of 27 September 2021.
3.2 The No. 3 Regulations act as an important public health tool for local authorities in their local coronavirus outbreak management, compliance and enforcement activities. The No. 3 Regulations would otherwise expire at the end of 18 July 2021 and therefore this instrument is urgent. This instrument also removes six of the existing instruments and a number of instruments which made amendments to them. In order that the provisions are in force for no longer than necessary the lifting of those restrictions is also urgent.
This enables local authorities to retain powers to respond to local serious and imminent public health threats as a response to the spread of SARS-CoV-2.
3.4 This instrument will cease to have effect at the end of the period of 28 days beginning with the day it was made (but excluding any period of more than 4 days in which both Houses are adjourned) unless, during that period, it is approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.
The Instrument revokes only those regulations included in the Schedule. The Hansard Society Coronavirus Statutory Instruments Dashboard indicates that powers in 131 Acts of Parliament, seven Orders, five EU Regulations (which are now retained EU law in the UK) and one Church Measure have been used to lay Coronavirus-related Statutory Instruments. With regard to health and safety, the HSE has posted Working safely after some coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions are removed. This emphasizes that whilst some coronavirus restrictions will be removed in England on 19 July 2021, “you must still control the risks and review and update your risk assessment. The following workplace controls remain unchanged: adequate ventilation; sufficient cleaning; and good hand hygiene. The Press Release states “You must continue to consult your workforce on health and safety matters, talking to workers and their representatives helps to reduce risk”.