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Coronavirus – Restrictions on Movement and Gatherings

Posted on: Mar 30,2020

Restrictions on movement and gatherings

The government has made The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 which prohibit anyone leaving the place where they live without reasonable excuse, and ban public gatherings of more than two people [Reg.6]. They came into force at 1pm on 26th March 2020 and will continue for 6 months during the “emergency period” or until terminated by the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State will review the need for these restrictions and requirements. The first review will be carried out by 16th April 2020.


The restrictions will be enforced by police, police community support officers, people appointed by local authorities and the Secretary of State [Reg. 8(12)].


Anyone who contravenes these restrictions or obstructs police or other enforcement officer without a reasonable excuse will be convicted and fined.

Businesses (including director, manager, secretary or other similar officer) that contravene the provisions will be prosecuted and proceeded against and punished accordingly [Reg 9]

What is a reasonable excuse?

A reasonable excuse includes the need—

(a)to obtain basic necessities, including food and medical supplies for those in the same household (including any pets or animals in the household) or for vulnerable persons and supplies for the essential upkeep, maintenance and functioning of the household, or the household of a vulnerable person, or to obtain money, including from any of the businesses which are allowed to remain open.

(b)to take exercise either alone or with other members of their household;

(c)to seek medical assistance, including to access dental services, opticians, audiology services, chiropody, chiropractors, osteopaths, other medical or health services, mental health services, vets and pet shops.

(d)to provide care or assistance, including relevant personal care under paragraph 7(3B) of Schedule 4 to the Safeguarding of Vulnerable Groups Act 2006(1), to a vulnerable person, or to provide emergency assistance;

(e)to donate blood;

(f)to travel for the purposes of work or to provide voluntary or charitable services, where it is not reasonably possible for that person to work, or to provide those services, from the place where they are living;

(g)to attend a funeral of—

  • a member of the person’s household,
  • a close family member, or
  • if no-one within sub-paragraphs (i) or (ii) are attending, a friend;

(h)to fulfil a legal obligation, including attending court or satisfying bail conditions, or to participate in legal proceedings;

(i)to access critical public services, including—

  • childcare or educational facilities (where these are still available to a child in relation to whom that person is the parent, or has parental responsibility for, or care of the child);
  • social services;
  • services provided by the Department of Work and Pensions;
  • services provided to victims (such as victims of crime);

(j)in relation to children who do not live in the same household as their parents, or one of their parents, to continue existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children, and for the purposes of this paragraph, “parent” includes a person who is not a parent of the child, but who has parental responsibility for, or who has care of, the child;

(k)in the case of a minister of religion or worship leader, to go to their place of worship;

(l)to move house where reasonably necessary;

(m)to avoid injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm.

Restrictions on gatherings [Reg.7]

During the emergency period, no person may participate in a gathering in a public place of more than two people except—

(a)where all the persons in the gathering are members of the same household,

(b)where the gathering is essential for work purposes,

(c)to attend a funeral,

(d)where reasonably necessary—

  • to facilitate a house move,
  • to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person, including relevant personal care within the meaning of paragraph 7(3B) of Schedule 4 to the Safeguarding of Vulnerable Groups Act 2006,
  • to provide emergency assistance, or
  • to participate in legal proceedings or fulfil a legal obligation.

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