My Lords, I will concentrate my remarks on two points. The first is the lack of scrutiny. Both regulations are further incidents of regulations being made without a draft being laid and approved by both Houses, having been implemented by reason of urgency due to the imminent threat to public health. This was understandable in the early days of the pandemic, with the urgent need for a national lockdown to curtail the spread, but as the inevitable has happened and cases have begun to rise again, we should already have in place a road map to deal with outbreaks either nationally or locally. This would allow for greater flexibility, with differing levels of threat across the country; and, importantly, it would also give both Houses the ability to scrutinise legislation in a timely and thorough manner ahead of implementation.
Secondly, a restriction or requirement imposed under the regulations must be proportionate to what is sought to be achieved by imposing it, to support an effective response to any threat, but there does not appear to be any scientific or other factor behind the rule of six to ascertain whether it is proportionate. Also, the principal regulations implementing the rule of six allow for families of more than six to be together without breaching the rules, but this does not appear to be the case when entering any designated premises. Can the Minister therefore say whether this is a proportionate response?