Public Health: Coronavirus Regulations

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:19 pm on 13th October 2020.

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Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock Secretary of State for Health and Social Care 2:19 pm, 13th October 2020

Yes, that is a very important point. Taking into account all local considerations, and working with the local director of public health and political leadership, is important to get exactly that sort of consideration into the decisions.

I would like to set out, as the Prime Minister did yesterday, the details of where we have reached with the Liverpool city region. Liverpool will move on to level 3 tomorrow. As well as the baseline measures—that is, as well as closing pubs and bars—gyms, leisure centres, betting shops, adult gaming centres and casinos will also close. I thank all the local authorities that have been working with us to keep the virus under control, but there is more work to do.

The regulations under consideration today include measures on the obligations for businesses. Statutory instrument 1005 makes it a legal requirement for a range of premises to collect, retain and, where relevant, disclose contact details as part of NHS Test and Trace. Statutory instrument 1008 allows for fixed penalty notices to be given for breaches of covid-secure business guidance in various settings, primarily hospitality. These are amended by SI 1046, which adds the need for a range of premises to display information about the need to wear face coverings.

SI 1029 increases the fines for those flouting targeted action to close specific public places that are a threat to public health. Although SI 1029 was intended to deliver the 10 pm closing time when laid, the elements relating to the 10 pm closing time are superseded by the local alert level system. The powers in SI 1029 are therefore revoked. In practice, the effect of SI 1029 is to deliver enforcement against individual places that have been flouting the rules, which is the one of the top demands of councils in their fight against coronavirus. I know that most people and most businesses have been doing their bit. These changes are there to ensure that the vast majority of responsible businesses are not undermined by others that are not following the rules.