UK and Ireland: COVID-19 – Legislation and Guidance Update
(This blog post covers legislation and guidance between 11th June – 17th July)
On the 10th of August 2020, Ireland enters into Phase 4, subject to government approval. The primary changes are:
- pubs, bars, hotel bars and casinos may reopen
- gatherings of up to 100 people indoors and 500 outdoors will be permissible
The Health Act 1947 (Section 31A – Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) (Face Coverings on Public Transport) Regulations 2020 (SI No. 244 of 2020) provide that, from 13 July 2020 to 5 October 2020, members of the public shall not, without reasonable excuse, travel by public transport without wearing a face covering.
The Road Traffic (Licensing of Drivers) (Amendment) (No. 5) Regulations 2020 (SI No. 235 of 2020) expand the extension of validity of learner permits provided for by the Road Traffic (Licensing of Drivers) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2020 (SI 125 of 2020), which were brought in as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. A learner permit that expired during the period beginning on 1 March 2020 and ending on 30 June 2020 has now been extended for a further 4 months from the original 4 month extension provided.
The Data Protection Commission has published guidance on “Data Protection Implications of the Return to Work Safely Protocol“. This guidance provides advice to employers on the implementation of the recommendations of the Protocol in a manner that complies with their obligations as data controllers under the GDPR and Data Protection Act, 2018.
The Department for Transport has published the following guidance: “Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer transport guidance for operators“. The purpose of this guidance is to help transport organisations in England understand how to provide safer workplaces and services for themselves, their workers and passengers. It outlines measures to assess and address the risks of coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 (2020 c. 12) make provision about companies and other entities in financial difficulty and includes temporary measures aimed at easing some of the most pressing consequences businesses may be experiencing as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.. The Act makes temporary changes to the law relating to the governance and regulation of companies and other entities.
The Companies etc. (Filing Requirements) (Temporary Modifications) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 645) temporarily extend the period within which certain filing requirements must be met by companies and other bodies. The Regulations provide relevant entities with additional time to comply with filing obligations in response to the challenging circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel and Public Health Information) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 691) amend the Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) (England) Regulations 2020 and the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Public Health Information for Passengers Travelling to England) Regulations 2020. They exempt persons arriving in England from the requirement to self-isolate if, during the 14 days preceding their arrival, they have only departed from or transited through “exempt countries or territories”.
The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) have published a Regulatory Position Statement (RPS) on “Emissions to air from Large Combustion Plant in the Transitional National Plan: RPS” in response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 4) Regulations 2020 (SSI 2020 No. 182) amend the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 to introduce a new requirement to wear a face covering when using a passenger transport service or passenger transport service premises. The Regulations also allow accommodation providers to accommodate people travelling for the purposes of work or to provide voluntary or charitable services, where those people cannot work, or provide those services, from home.
The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (International Travel) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 3) Regulations 2020 (SSI 2020 No. 209) exempt persons arriving in Scotland on or after 10 July 2020 from the movement restriction in regulation 6 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (International Travel) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 if, during the 14 days preceding their arrival, they have only departed from or transited through “exempt countries or territories”.
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel and Public Health Information to Travellers) (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 714) (W. 160) amend the Health Protection (Coronavirus, International Travel) (Wales) Regulations 2020 (“the International Travel Regulations”) from 10 July 2020 to extend the exemptions from the requirement to provide information; exempt certain categories of workers from having to comply with the requirement to provide information online and; to extend the exemption from the requirement to isolate.
The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 2) (Wales) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 725) (W. 162) ease lockdown measures from 11 July 2020. The Regulations also require certain business and premises to close; these are listed in Schedule 1, Schedule 2 and Schedule 3.