As we reported in Legislation and guidance update – December (II), the initial tranche of legislation setting down the legal requirements of Plan B (in England) was scheduled to be debated in the House of Commons on Tuesday 14 December 2021. The four statutory instruments relating to public health were debated in the House of Commons on 14 December; each was approved by a substantial majority. The SIs are:
- The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021, SI 2021/1400. These Regulations amend the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings) (England) Regulations 2021 (“the principal Regulations”) to add to the list of places where face coverings must be worn, provide for gatherings where face coverings need not be worn, correct errors in the principal Regulations, remove the powers of the Secretary of State to disapply its legal requirements for the purposes of legal research, and clarify which persons are potentially liable to prosecution for an offence in relation to contraventions of regulations 6 and 7. They also extend the period during which the Regulations are in force until 26th January 2022.
A copy of was laid before Parliament on 9 December, but had not been considered by the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments. [See our post Church of England: Plan B guidance – face coverings (10 December 2021)].
- The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-Isolation) (England) (Amendment) (No. 6) Regulations 2021, SI 2021/1415. These Regulations amend the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-Isolation) (England) Regulations 2020 to remove the distinction between close contacts of a known or suspected Omicron case and close contacts of all other positive cases.
All close contacts, regardless of the variant, will no longer be required to self-isolate if they are: (a) a person who has received a complete course of the coronavirus vaccination, provided that the contact takes place more than 14 days after they have completed their course of vaccinations; (b) a person who is taking part in a vaccine trial; (c) a person who can provide evidence that for clinical reasons they should not be vaccinated, or; (d) a child.
A copy of was laid before Parliament on 9 December, but had not been considered by the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments.
- The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Entry to Venues and Events) (England) Regulations 2021, SI 2021/1416. These Regulations impose obligations on those responsible for organising certain events, or managing certain venues (set out in regulation 4), to take reasonable measures to ensure that they do not admit any person to such events, or venues unless the person concerned has been fully vaccinated or has tested negative for coronavirus within the last 48 hours, is participating (or has participated) in a clinical trial of a coronavirus vaccine or, for clinical reasons, should not be vaccinated with a coronavirus vaccine (regulation 5). They may in addition admit the people listed in regulation 10, including persons under 18 years of age. The mandatory status checks do not apply to places of worship, to private houses or to unticketed outdoor events in public spaces.
A copy of was laid before Parliament on 13 December, but had not been considered by the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments. [See our post Mandatory COVID-19 status checks in England: exemption for places of worship (13 December 2021)]. .
- The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) (No. 2) Regulations 2021, SI 2021/. These Regulations make further provision in relation to entry into the care home, specifically where (a) the person wishing to enter the care home has participated or is participating in a clinical trial; and (b) where the person wishing to enter the care home has not previously been employed or otherwise engaged by the registered person in respect of that regulated activity.
A copy of was laid before Parliament on 9 November.
Relevant documents to the debate were: First Special Report of the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments, Rule of Law Themes from COVID-19 Regulations, HC 600 and the Government Response, HC774; Fourth Report of the Justice Committee, Covid-19 and the criminal law, HC 71.