Covid 19 - England Local Authority Powers
The English government has, despite the 19th July 'Freedom Day', allowed certain pieces of legislation to remain in place and as a number of measures (some permissive and some restrictive) come towards their sunset clauses extensions are being implemented.
We have seen this in relation to The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No.3) Regulations 2020 (No. 3 Regulations) (‘the regulations’) which will continue to apply until the end of 24 March 2022. Its powers may be used right up to the date of expiry.
The powers may be exercised by upper-tier local authorities in England:
- county councils
- the unitary county (or district council)
- London borough councils
- the Common Council of the City of London
- the Council of the Isles of Scilly
To give a direction under these regulations, a local authority needs to be satisfied that the following 3 legal conditions are met:
- That giving the direction responds to a serious and imminent threat to public health.
- The direction is necessary to prevent, protect against, control or provide a public health response to the incidence or spread of infection by coronavirus in the local authority’s area.
- The prohibitions, requirements or restrictions imposed by the direction are a proportionate means of achieving that purpose.
The document continues that directions must be for the purpose of either closing the premises, restricting entry to the premises, or securing restrictions in relation to the location of people or in premises.
Directions may include restrictions or requirements on the number of people in premises, the reasons for being there and the facilities in the premises.