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Today (17/09/20), the Government issued a number of new Regulations coming into force tomorrow that will place a number of new statutory requirements on pubs and other licensed venues.

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Collection of Contact Details etc and Related Requirements) Regulations 2020

This Regulation places a statutory requirement, from Friday 18 September, on licensed businesses to collect contact details from customers.

There will be an additional requirements to 1) display a QR code using the NHS Covid-19 app which will log the person’s entry to the premises on their phone and 2) to require licensees, amongst others, to require a person to scan the QR code or provide certain contact details.

These details are to be kept for a period of 21 days and provided to the NHS Test and Trace on request, for the purposes of contact tracing. 

The contact details to be requested are provided in regulation 10, namely, the name and surname of the individual, their telephone number or, where they do not have one, their email address or failing that a postal address.  The date and time of entry should also be noted. 

Under regulation 17, a person commits an offence by not complying with the requirements to record, store and share information punishable by a fine.  The Regulation provides that a fixed penalty notice may be issued to anyone over the age of 18 whom they reasonably believe to have committed an offence under the Regulations. The amount of the first fixed penalty is £100, reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days of a notice being issued.  The amount then doubles for each subsequent penalty notice, up to a maximum of £3200. 

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Obligations of Hospitality Undertakings) (England) Regulations 2020

On 14th September 2020, the Government introduced a new restriction, restricting gatherings to no more than six persons (‘The Rule of Six’).

These Regulations places a statutory duty on, amongst others, businesses in the hospitality sector to ensure the Rule of Six is adhered to in their venues by:

“…by requiring the person responsible for the business concerned to take all reasonable measures to ensure that parties of more than six may not book or gain entry to the business, that different parties (“qualifying groups” within the meaning given in regulation 5(2B)(a) of the Principal Regulations) at the venue do not mingle, and that tables are set apart at an “appropriate distance” (defined as two metres, or at least one metre if certain measures are in place, such as barriers or screens).”

Under the Regulations, enforcement may be undertaken by designated local authority officers, police officers, or persons designated by the Secretary of State.  

A breach of the ‘Rule of Six’ requirement is an offence punishable on summary conviction by a fine.  Fixed penalty notices may be issued by the authorised officer, in the sum of £1000 on the first occasion (a reduced penalty of £500 being due if paid within 14 days of the notice date), £2000 on a second occasion, rising to £4,000 for a third and any subsequent occasion when a fixed penalty notice is issued under the Regulations.  

Importantly, under section 24 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 is expressly applied so that arrest by a police officer may be made without warrant on grounds of maintenance of public health and public order.

Stephen McCaffrey

Regulatory defence barrister specialising in alcohol and entertainment licensing law, appeals and defence.

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