Non-lockdown roadmap: New laws will come into effect Monday, rules voted today
New coronavirus laws are submitted to Parliament today (March 24) to support Boris Johnson’s roadmap outside of lockdown.
MPs will vote on new legislation, which includes an explicit ban on public holidays abroad, to enshrine the prime minister’s four-step lockdown exit plan into law.
The national lockdown expires on March 31, so new laws are needed to enforce the ongoing restrictions.
It comes a few days before the next easing of social restrictions, on Monday, March 29, as part of the second part of the first stage of the roadmap.
But the government is concerned about Tory backbench MPs who have been asked to extend some lockdown powers until October – despite plans for a return to normal in June.
While the legislation is expected to be passed today with the support of Labor, Mr. Johnson will be prepared for the wrath of its own MPs over continued tough restrictions amid positive signs about the impact of the vaccine rollout, reports The mirror.
The new laws do not mean that the roadmap to emerge from the lockout is changing. They give the government the legal powers to implement the four-step plan Mr Johnson has already laid out.
Here’s what the law says and what it means.
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Why is the law changing?
The new regulations will in effect replace the old tier system, which still forms the basis of the laws behind the lockdown.
Known as health protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) Regulations 2021, the rules will replace the levels with a series of steps based on the proposed dates of the non-lockdown PM roadmap for England.
The change is needed now because the lockdown ends in law on March 31, so something is needed to replace it.
The new legislation expires on June 30.
Separately, MPs will also be asked to renew emergency powers in the coronavirus law, which covers support packages such as leave and business loan programs, as well as allowing courts to use the technology. video.
MPs must vote to expand those powers every six months, which means the next vote could take place in October.
Does that mean the lockdown will last until October?
No. The government says it wants to keep the coronavirus law in place, for now, to ensure it can respond effectively to the pandemic.
This does not affect the Prime Minister’s plan to ease the lockdown measures. However, Tory MPs have expressed concern that far-reaching powers could remain in place for so long after the lockdown ends.
The roadmap’s separate settlement expires on June 30, in line with the government’s plan to ease restrictions after June 21.
This is the expiration date of the legislation, but the government can remove or change it if necessary.
Restrictions must be reviewed by April 12 and at least once every 35 days thereafter.
Mr Johnson has repeatedly said he wants the lifting of the measures to be “irreversible” – hence the cautious stance on unlocking.
The government does not want to be in a situation like after the second lockout in November, when strict measures had to be reimposed quickly due to a spike in cases.
Is there anything new in the law?
Most of the fine print matches the Prime Minister’s road map out of lockdown (see below for details).
One eye-catching element was the ban on overseas vacations, with fines of £ 5,000 for anyone breaking the rules.
There is also a fixed penalty notice of £ 200 for failing to complete a travel declaration form to explain your reasons for going overseas.
The travel ban does not apply to those traveling to the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and the Republic of Ireland – unless that is not the final destination. So you can’t go to Dublin to catch a flight from there.
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Exemptions also apply, including for those who must travel to work, study, for legal obligations or to vote, if they move, sell or rent a property, for childcare reasons or to attend. at a birth, to visit a dying or close relative. friend, to attend funerals, for those getting married or to attend the wedding of a loved one, for medical appointments or to escape risk of harm.
Right now, that is expected to last until the restrictions expire on June 30, but the government may expedite that when it considers an overseas travel review next month.
Protests will be allowed again as an exemption from rules banning group gatherings.
They must be organized by a business, government or political body or other group and the organizers must take the “required precautions”, which is likely to include measures such as ensuring that people wear masks and are socially distant.
So what is the timeline for lifting the lockdown?
England’s restrictions will be eased in four stages, starting (at the earliest) on March 8, April 12, May 17 and June 21.
The first phase began on March 8, with schools reopening and restrictions easing slightly to allow people to meet another person outside for coffee or a picnic.
The second part of Stage 1 is scheduled for March 29, which will allow up to six people to meet outdoors, but restrict indoor gatherings of two or more people.
Some outdoor sports are allowed and outdoor facilities like swimming pools and tennis courts may reopen.
The home order ends. People will be asked to stay put, but it will not be compulsory. You will be allowed to leave your home for non-essential reasons and to use public transport.
Stage 2, which could take effect from April 12, is the reopening of non-essential stores as well as hairdressers, gyms, zoos, theme parks and libraries.
Pubs and other places of hospitality will be able to serve customers outside – but the rules regarding social contact remain in place, so the rule of six or two households.
Holidays in the UK are permitted with your household, provided it is in self-catering accommodation.
Weddings can take place up to 15 people.
Stage 3, after May 17, allows groups of six to meet indoors and up to 30 people outdoors.
Overnight stays with friends and family elsewhere in the country will be permitted for the first time, and pubs and restaurants will be able to serve people indoors.
Up to 30 people can attend weddings and other life events such as baptisms.
May 17 is the earliest possible date for an overseas vacation, but that depends on the outcome of a review that reports by April 12.
Stage 4, after June 21, will be where the whole government hopes all legal limits on social contact can be removed – although some social distancing may remain in place, such as wearing masks.
Officials also hope to reopen these latter closed sectors of the economy such as nightclubs and small standing concerts.
What are the four tests to facilitate the lockdown?
Four tests must be passed each time to move the country to the next step in the lockdown roadmap – which is why the dates are tentative.
The deployment of the vaccine will be planned
Vaccines are effective enough to reduce deaths and hospitalizations
Infection rates not likely to increase hospital admissions
There are no new coronavirus variants of concern