Coronavirus changes the regulatory landscape

24th March 2020

In these unprecedented times we are seeing Bills being drafted with unprecedented speed and enactments made in a blink of an eye.

To date, we have had the following:

The Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020

  • Made at 6.50am on 10 February 2020
  • Laid before Parliament at 2.30pm on 10 February 2020
  • In force at 2pm on 21 March 2020

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closure)(England) Regulations 2020

  • Made at 2pm on 21 March 2020
  • In force at 2pm on 21 March 2020
  • Laid before Parliament on 23 March 2020

The Coronavirus Bill 2020

  • First reading 19 March 2020
  • Second and Third reading 23 March 2020
  • In force (TBC but likely to be 27 March 2020 at the latest).

The rate of law making is unprecedented, but looking back at when coronavirus legislation was first introduced, the political, legal and humanitarian landscape is now unrecognisable in just over six weeks.

On 10 February 2020

The Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 came about as the Secretary of State announced new regulations to protect the public from further transmission of the novel coronavirus.

The Secretary of State declared, in accordance with regulation 3 of the new regulations, that coronavirus constitutes ‘a serious and imminent threat to public health’ and the provisions contained in the new regulations were considered effective means of preventing or delaying further spread of the virus. At this point there were around 40,000 confirmed cases globally, with eight in the UK.

On 19 March 2020

The Government introduced the Coronavirus Bill into Parliament and it was expected to race through the 2nd and 3rd reading on 23 March 2020 prior to receiving Royal Assent by the end of this week.
The Bill has four primary categories of effect:

  • enhancing capacity and the flexible deployment of staff
  • easing of legislative and regulatory requirements
  • containing and slowing the virus
  • managing the deceased.

We shall keep you updated on the provisions of the Bill and what they may mean for businesses.

On 21 March 2020

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closure) (England) Regulations 2020 came into force, requiring businesses selling food or drink for consumption on the premises, and some others, to close, to protect public health. The closure lasts until a direction is given by the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State is required to keep the need for these restrictions under review every 28 days.

Following many people’s failure to stay at home over the Mother’s Day weekend, the Government has announced new and stringent lockdown measures.

We shall keep you updated as the regulatory landscape continues to shift apace.

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