24 March 2020 #Clarkslegal
Following the creation of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closures) Regulations 2020 on 20 March 2020, the UK government announced new rules on 23 March 2020 applicable to every citizen to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. These new measures are effective immediately.
Three rules, three weeks
A police-enforced lockdown has now been enforced for the next three weeks. We are required to stay at home except for very limited purposes and should not have gatherings with more than two people in public. Community spaces (such as libraries, leisure facilities, places of worship and hotels) and shops selling non-essential goods are also expected to stay closed immediately following the announcement.
The Government insists that we should only leave our homes for very limited purposes. In particular, to shop for basic necessities, for any medical need and for one form of exercise a day. We can leave the house to travel to and from work but only where this is absolutely necessary (i.e. if particular work cannot be done from home). These activities must be done with caution ensuring that you are two metres away from anyone outside your household.
It has now been made clear that authorities such as police bodies have the powers to enforce the new rules through issuing fines and dispersing gatherings where need be. The rules may be relaxed in three weeks’ time, but this will be dependent on factors such as the speed at which the virus is spreading across the country and its impact on the population.
Impacts of the lockdown
The lockdown will have several domino effects on the political, economic, sociocultural, technological and legal landscapes in the UK and globally both in the short-term and the long-term. The economy is already facing suboptimal market performance and a lesser number of workers seems to be leading to reduced economic output. Employers are encouraged to familiarise themselves with schemes the Government has recently announced such as the COVID-19 Job Retention Scheme alongside forthcoming updates in relation to the same.
‘Given the pace at which new information is being released, the information within this article is only correct as at the date and time it was published and may well have changed’.