As the Government continues to face the frequently changing landscape as the result of the Covid 19 pandemic, new criminal offences have been created to enforce the life style procedures imposed to try and protect the public from exposure to the virus and restrict its spread.      

Helen Holder of Kangs Solicitors outlines the law in relation to the wearing of face coverings which came into force on the 24 July 2020 and subsequent amendments.

Recognised as one of the leading criminal defence firms in the country, Kangs Solicitors is top ranked in Band 1 and Tier 1 for criminal defence work by both the leading legal directories, Chambers UK and the Legal 500.

For an initial no obligation discussion, please call our Team at any of our offices detailed below:

The Law | Kangs Health Protection Solicitors

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place) (England) Regulations 2020 (‘the Regulations’), which only apply to England, came into force on the 24 July 2020 and subsequent amendments came into force on the 22 August 2020. 

The Regulations state that:

 “No person may, without reasonable excuse, enter or remain within a relevant place without wearing a face covering.” 

A face covering is described as a covering of any type which covers a person’s nose and mouth.

Exemptions | Kangs Covid 19 Regulations Solicitors

Paragraph 3(2) of the Regulations provides that the following are exempt:

  • a child who is under the age of 11;
  • a person responsible for a ‘relevant place’ or an employee of that person acting in the course of employment;
  • a police officer acting in the course of duty;
  • an elite sportsperson training or taking part in a competition;
  • an employee of an operator of a public transport service acting in the course of employment.

Reasonable Excuse | Kangs Covid 19 Regulations Team

The Regulations do not provide a comprehensive list of situations which will constitute a reasonable excuse.

However, paragraph 4(1) of the Regulations makes provision for a reasonable excuse where:

  • a person cannot wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment or without severe distress,
  • to do so would impair lip reading communication to another,
  • harm or injury would ensue,
  • it is reasonably necessary to eat or drink,
  • it is necessary to take medication,
  • a relevant person has requested removal to verify identification,
  • a relevant person requests a person to remove their face covering.

Relevant Place | Kangs Health and Safety Solicitors

Schedule 1 of the Regulations lists those relevant places indoors where face covering must be worn including:   

  • a shop,
  • enclosed shopping centres,
  • banks and building societies,
  • Post Offices,
  • places of worship,
  • community centres, youth centres and social clubs,
  • crematoria and burial ground chapels,
  • public areas in hotels and hostels,
  • concert halls, exhibition halls, conference centres and other public halls,
  • cinemas,
  • museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos and visitor farms and other tourist, heritage or cultural sites,
  • Bingo halls,
  • public libraries and reading rooms,
  • casinos.

The Regulations do not apply to:

  • restaurants with table service, bars or public houses,
  • areas in enclosed shopping centres open to the public and where seating or tables are made available for the consumption of food and drink, 
  • premises providing wholly or mainly medical or dental services, audiology services, chiropody, chiropractic, osteopathic, optometry or other medical services relating to mental health,
  • fitness studios, gyms, dance studios, leisure centres, swimming pools or water parks,
  • photography studios.

Powers of Enforcement | Relevant Person | Kangs Criminal Defence Team

A relevant person, defined as a constable, a PCSO, a TFL officer and a person designated by the Secretary of State, can, if they consider a person is not wearing a face covering in contravention of the Regulations:    

  • deny entry,
  • direct that person to wear a covering,
  • direct that person to leave.

A person who does not comply may be removed from the relevant place by a constable who may use reasonable force.

Criminal Offences and Penalties | Kangs Criminal Solicitors

The Regulations create three criminal offences being:    

  • Contravening the requirements in the Regulations,
  • Obstructing, without reasonable cause, any person carrying out a function under the Regulations,
  • Contravening a direction given without reasonable excuse.

The offences are of a summary nature only with the result that they may be dealt with only by the Magistrates’ Court and, on conviction, are only punishable by way of a fine. 

Alternatively, a Fixed Penalty Notice can be issued to anyone over the age of eighteen years.  

Who Can I Contact For Help? | Kangs National Criminal Defence Solicitors

Please feel free to contact our team through any of our solicitors named below who will be happy to provide you with some initial advice and assistance.

Sukhdip Randhawa
srandhawa@kangssolicitors.co.uk
0121 449 9888 | 020 7936 6396 | 07989 521210

Amandeep Murria
amurria@kangssolicitors.co.uk
020 7936 63960121 449 988807989 521210

Helen Holder
hholder@kangssolicitors.co.uk
0121 449 9888 | 020 7936 6396