New Government Restrictions – What Has Changed

Please read the following information provided by Essex Association of Local Councils (EALC) on behalf of the Government:

New Government Restrictions – What Has Changed

With the infection rate sharply increasing, the Government has announced new measures to suppress the virus and keep the number of transmissions down. From Monday 14th September, you must not meet with people from other households in groups of more than six. This applies to both indoors and out, including private dwellings. Previously the Police Service could only disperse gatherings of over 30 people. The changes give enforcement power, providing the ability to disperse, fine and possibly arrest individuals in violation of the ‘rule of six.’ Consequently whilst some Town and Parish Councils were looking at returning to face to face meetings, they are now legally obliged to continue meeting virtually.

The only exceptions to the new ruling are Covid-19 secure venues, such as places of worship, restaurants and hospitality venues. They can still host larger numbers in total, but groups of up to 6 must not mix or form larger groups. This rule will not apply to individual households or support bubbles of more than six who will still be able to gather together. Educational institutions and work settings are unaffected. Organised team sports will also still be able to continue, as well as weddings and funerals of up to 30 people. From today, this limit will be enforceable in law.

HM Government will support Local Authorities and Police Forces to respond to breaches of Covid-19 secure guidelines. They will launch a register of newly qualified and recently retired Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) so that Local Authorities can recruit more quickly to fill any gaps. In addition, they will introduce Covid-19 Secure Marshals to help Local Authorities support social distancing in Towns and City Centres.

Businesses will have a clear duty to support NHS Test and Trace. From 18th September, it will be mandatory for certain businesses to have a system to collect NHS Test and Trace data, and keep this for 21 days. Core Covid-19 Secure requirements will be mandated for hospitality businesses, and egregious breaches enforced. The government also published simplified Covid-19 Secure guidance. HM Government have also restricted the opening hours of premises, initially in Local Lockdown areas, with the option of national action in the future. This has been introduced in Bolton, following a steep rise in cases, and will seek to restrict activities that may lead to a spread in the virus.

The Government plan to review a pilot for larger audiences in venues this month.

Planned sports pilot events will be limited to smaller, safer numbers, with strict conditions to ensure social distancing, and will not take place in areas where incidences of Covid-19 contraction are high. They will review this plan to return audiences to stadia and conference centres from 1st October.