COVID-19 legislation and guidance update, January (II)

This post includes a rolling update of new legislation and guidance on coronavirus COVID-19 from 17 January 2022 *.


The “Sue Gray” report

Investigation into alleged gatherings on government premises during COVID restrictions – Update 

Conclusion

[24].The gatherings within the scope of this investigation are spread over a 20-month period – a period that has been unique in recent times in terms of the complexity and breadth of the demands on public servants and indeed the general public. The whole of the country rose to the challenge. Ministers, special advisers and the Civil Service, of which I am proud to be a part, were a key and dedicated part of that national effort. However, as I have noted, a number of these gatherings should not have been allowed to take place or to develop in the way that they did. There is significant learning to be drawn from these events which must be addressed immediately across Government. This does not need to wait for the police investigations to be concluded. (31 January 2022).

PM statement on the Sue Gray report: 31 January 2022, Oral statement to Parliament, 31 January 2022. 


Legislation

For other  changes in January, see COVID-19 legislation and guidance update, January (I).

UK

Written Question UIN 121191: Demonstrations: Coronavirus: tabled on 26 November 2020; answered on 1 December 2020.

“Sections 44 to 46 of the Serious Crime Act 2007 provide for offences of encouraging or assisting an offence. Whether someone engaging in peaceful protest that is in breach of Coronavirus regulations has committed an offence under sections 44 to 46 of the Serious Crime Act of encouraging or assisting an offence will depend on the circumstances. Individual decisions on detaining or charging an individual are operational matters for the police and the Crown Prosecution Service.”

England

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-Isolation) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2022, SI 2022/72. This instrument gives renewed effect to the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self-Isolation) (England) (Amendment) (No. 5) Regulations 2021 (S.I. 2021/1382), which came into force on 9 December 2021. Due to a clerical oversight, those Regulations expired on 25 January 2022 on the basis that they were not approved by Parliament, having previously been made and having come into force before approval was given.

Wales

The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 5) (Wales)(Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2022, WSI 2022/55 (W.21). These Regulations amend Schedule 2 (Alert Level 2 Restrictions) to the principal Regulations to remove all restrictions on outdoor gatherings and events; and make amendments that are related to these changes.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 5) (Wales) (Amendment) (No. 4) Regulations 2022, WSI 2022/83 (W.29. The Regulations amend the principal Regulations to provide that from 6.00 a.m. on 28 January 2022, no alert level applies to Wales. This means that none of the restrictions and requirements in Schedules 1 to 4 to the principal Regulations apply. §

Scotland

The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Requirements) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 2) Regulations 2022, SSI 2022/13. Regulation 2(2) removes the definition of “live event” from regulation 2 of the principal Regulations.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Requirements) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 3) Regulations 2022, SSI 2022/29. Change the requirement for the distance to be maintained between persons who are not wearing face coverings from at least two metres to at least one metre in certain circumstances; Amend the requirement that a face covering must be worn in any indoor communal area ; in a workplace; Exempt a person travelling on a ferry from wearing a face covering. §

Northern Ireland

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2021 (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2022, SR 2022/6.  In Regulations 4(2)(a)(i) for “accessing a table” substitute “accessing a seat”. Also,  “A person must not attend, organise or operate an indoor standing event”, although this does not apply to an event which is: (a )a funeral, marriage ceremony or a civil partnership registration; (b) a reception or gathering which relates to a funeral, marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration, or: (c) communal religious worship at a place of worship or communal activity at a place where beliefs are practiced.”

The Coronavirus Act 2020 (Extension of Provisions Related to Courts, Tribunals and Inquests) Order (Northern Ireland) 2022, SR 2022/24. extends the provisions in the Coronavirus Act 2020 (c. 7) which allow a coroner to hold an inquest into a death in prison caused by natural illness without a jury and which provide for courts and statutory tribunals in Northern Ireland to receive evidence, wholly or in part, through the use of audio or video live links. §


Guidance

Coronavirus: how to stay safe and help prevent the spread, Get tested and self-isolate if required’ updated to reflect new testing and isolation rules. Cabinet Office. (18 January 2022).

COVID-19: guidance for the safe use of places of worship Additional text on changes with return to Plan A. Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and MHCLG (20 January 2022)

England to return to Plan A following the success of the booster programme Plan B measures will be removed following millions getting the booster, which gives strong protection against Omicron, Press Release, DHSC, (20 January 2022).

Continuing to keep workplaces safe from coronavirus (COVID-19). HSE Advice on removal of Plan B measures, (20 January 2022).

COVID-19: arranging or attending a funeral or commemorative event. From 27 January there will no longer be a legal requirement to wear a face covering in any setting. The government suggests that you continue to wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you may come into contact with other people you do not normally meet. UK Health Security Agency and DHSC (21 January 2022).

Guidance for couples planning to get married or form a civil partnership in England, and venues hosting these events. Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and Cabinet Office (21 January 2022).

Using your NHS COVID Pass for travel abroad and at venues and settings in England, Updated to reflect it is no longer a legal requirement for venues or events to check the COVID-19 status of attendees as a condition of entry, DHSC. (27 January 2022).§

England returns to Plan A as regulations on face coverings and COVID Passes change today, DHSC. (27 January 2022).§

Face coverings: when to wear one, exemptions and what makes a good one, Updated guidance to reflect the face covering regulations coming to an end on 26 January 2022.DHSC. (27 January 2022).§


Commentaries

Ecclesiastical Insurance: COVID-19 Secure – places of worship. Includes links to Information and guidance on managing the risk have been provided by the Church of England, the Methodist Churchthe Baptist Union of Great Britainthe Church in Wales and the Scottish Episcopal Church. (31 December 2021).

UK Human Rights Blog: Police powers under Welsh COVID Regulations. The Welsh Regulations created a new power of entry which allows police officers to enter people’s homes in certain circumstances to investigate breaches of the COVID Regulations. the power of English police officers to enter people’s homes is more restricted, governed by the provisions of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (‘PACE’) and the common law rules for dealing with breaches of the peace.(18 January 2022).

David Allen Green. The Law and Policy Blog: The joy of implicitly. The implications of using “implicitly”. (17 January 2022).

Sarah Hannett QC. Matrix Chambers: Opinion: In the matter of face coverings in schools. This is summarized by the Good Law Project as: This states that – unless new legislation is introduced – it is unlikely that the Government has the power to ban the use of facemasks in school. Moreover, while in some circumstances the Education Secretary can issue directions to a school which he believes is acting unreasonably, it will be difficult to override a school’s decision to require their students to wear masks, provided they have good reasons for departing from the guidance”. (26 January 2022). §


Church of England

Updated: Tuesday 25 January, 13.30

The Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, has thanked parishes and the public for their sacrifices as England lifts plan B measures from Thursday 27 January,

Updated documents:

Update: Thursday 20th January, 15:30

Following the Health Secretary’s announcement that England will to return to Plan A from Thursday 27 January, The Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, who leads the Church of England’s Covid Recovery Group, said:

“We note the Government’s announcement regarding the ending of Plan B measures from next week and will review our advice as soon as detailed guidance is published.”


Scottish Episcopal Church

E-mail sent on behalf of Advisory Group to Clergy, Lay Readers, Vestry Secretaries and Diocesan Secretaries, Update from the Advisory Group, following the announcement by the First Minister on Tuesday 18 January 2022( 20 January 2022).


Roman Catholic Church EW

Guidance for Churches – January 2022, “Regarding the liturgical action, there should be a return to the normal mode of celebrating Mass respecting the integrity of the Rite…For the time being, Holy Communion must continue to be given under one kind only (the Sacred Host) and for concelebrations of clergy, intinction of the Precious Blood with the Sacred Host should continue to be used.

Where there is physical touch as part of another Rite of the Church (for example, anointing of the sick, ashing of foreheads etc) the use of cotton buds is no longer mandated, but the hands should be cleaned well before and after the Rite.

Congregational singing may continue and there is a general encouragement to wear face coverings while singing. However, it is recognised that not everyone will feel able to do this. (28 January 2022).§


Law and Religion UK

Law and religion round-up – 16 JanuaryNo COVID-19 related items.

COVID-19: Plan B guidance to be lifted in England. Additional text to COVID-19: guidance for the safe use of places of worship for England, announcing that the measures put in place under Plan B will be lifted. (20 January 2022).

Law and religion round-up – 23 January. COVID-19 and funerals in England (and weddings & civil partnerships).  (23 January 2022). §

COVID-19: Church of England updated advice, (25 January 2022).

Law and religion round-up – 30 January. Charity Commission for England &Wales: COVID-19; The Common Cup – a wake-up call; Perceptions of risk; “Here’s one (SI) we prepared earlier……but forgot to obtain approval for”. (30 January 2022.§


* Information on COVID-19 on L&RUK

These updates are now published at the start of each month; they are not reissued, but new items are added as they become available, providing a “rolling update” of the latest developments. They are also added to COVID-19 Coronavirus: legislation and guidance which is  the main source of  information, and listed with the newest items last (unlike the CofE documents, infra); items in the monthly updates yet to be added are marked “§“.  Earlier updates are here.

‡ Church of England documents

Church of England documents are listed under their full title and issue number, in the same order as they appear on the Church’s web site.

Post last updated,  30 January 2022 at 15:51. 

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Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "COVID-19 legislation and guidance update, January (II)" in Law & Religion UK, 20 January 2022, https://lawandreligionuk.com/2022/01/20/covid-19-legislation-and-guidance-update-january-ii/

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