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Dealing with an individual breaching the regulations on wearing face coverings, travel and public transport, self-isolation and linked households. 

First published
Updated
Written by College of Policing

Step 2

As of 12 April 2021 all areas in England are subject to Step 2 restrictions.

Face coverings

In a relevant place and on public transport

Restrictions 

A 'face covering' means any covering that covers a person’s nose and mouth. 

Everyone entering or remaining in a relevant place – including employees – should wear a face covering unless they have a reasonable excuse. Relevant places include (but are not limited to): shops, restaurants, pubs, banks, etc.

Everyone should wear a face covering when boarding, or when on board public transport – even if they do not intend to travel – unless they have a reasonable excuse.

It is a requirement to wear a face covering when at a premises which contain a polling station or is being used for the opening of postal votes or the counting of votes.

Reasonable excuses include (but are not limited to):

  • taking medication
  • eating or drinking
  • physical or mental illness, impairment or disability
  • avoiding harm or injury

Offences

You can request people to remove their face covering, but you have no power to remove their covering forcibly.

Offences include where a person, aged 18 or over, has:

  • contravened the requirement to wear a face covering 
  • contravened a direction without reasonable excuse
  • obstructed a relevant person from acting under these regulations, without reasonable cause

FPN amounts 

Fixed-penalty notices for any of the offences above is £200 payable within 28 days, reduced to £100 if paid within 14 days. The reduction to £100 only applies to the first FPN. The fine amounts double for each subsequent offence. Court proceedings may be brought for non-payment.

International travel

Travel and isolation

Restrictions

These regulations provide requirements on international travel. The below is a brief summary of these regulations. We advise that you read the full briefing pack for further information.

Arrivals in England travelling from outside the common travel area are subject to passenger information and self-isolation requirements. These vary depending on whether the arrival has travelled from and/or through an 'amber list' or 'red list' country or territory.

Amber list requirements:

  • possess a negative COVID-19 test result
  • complete a passenger locator form (PLF)
  • self-isolate at a suitable address that they provide in their PLF, eg, their home address, for 10 days (note: COVID-19 test results may have an impact on this)
  • take mandatory COVID-19 tests while they self-isolate

Red list requirements:

  • possess a negative COVID-19 test result
  • complete a PLF and book a managed self-isolation package
  • arrive at one of the designated airports, military airfield or military port
  • self-isolate at the accommodation in their managed self-isolation package, eg, designated hotel, for 10 days (note: COVID-19 test results may have an impact on this)
  • take mandatory COVID-19 tests while they self-isolate

Police powers

If a police officer has reasonable grounds to believe that a person has left, or is outside of, the place where they are self-isolating they can:

  • direct that person to return to the place where they are self-isolating
  • remove that person to the place where they are self-isolating

For 'red list' arrivals only, a police officer may enter the premises to search for an individual suspected of contravening the requirement to self-isolate or to remove them to the accommodation designated as part of their managed self-isolation package.

Offences

The most relevant offences from a policing perspective are when a person (without reasonable excuse):

  • contravenes self-isolation requirements
  • wilfully obstructs any person carrying out a function under the regulations

Note: examples of other offences include the contravention of requirements linked to information, testing and (for 'red list' arrivals) the booking of managed self-isolation packages. See the briefing pack for further information.

    FPN amounts

    Red list

    Contravening the requirement to self-isolate or wilfully obstruct: £5,000 for the first fixed-penalty notice, £8,000 for the second, and £10,000 for the third and any subsequent offences.

    Amber list

    Contravening the requirement to self-isolate: £1,000 for the first FPN, £2,000 for the second, £4,000 for the third, and £10,000 for the fourth and any subsequent offences.

    Wilfully obstructing a person carrying out a function related to self-isolation is a £1,000 FPN.

    Note: The regulations provide different FPN amounts for other offences. For this information, and for a list of relevant reasonable excuses and exceptions, see the briefing.

    Self-isolation

    Notification of isolation

    Regulations

    The regulations set out requirements on individuals to isolate if they are notified to have: 

    • tested positive for coronavirus
    • had close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus

    It does not apply to individuals notified by the NHS COVID-19 app.

    A notified person must:

    • self-isolate from the moment of notification for the period specified 
    • (only if tested positive) notify the relevant person of the name of each person living in the same household

    For a child, as far as possible a responsible adult should ensure the above.

    Exceptions apply, for example, to seek medical assistance, obtain basic necessities, escape risk of harm, etc. (See full briefing).

    Offences   

    The regulations provide for the following offences that are punishable on summary conviction by a fine: 

    A notified person who contravenes a requirement to self-isolate or provide required information (exceptions apply) without reasonable excuse commits an offence.

    A notified person who contravenes a requirement to self-isolate without reasonable excuse and in doing so: 

    • has reason to believe they will come into close contact with another person or group 
    • does then come into close contact with another person or group 
    • is reckless as to the consequences of that close contact for the health of that other person or group commits an offence 

    A notified person who knowingly provides false information relating to the address where they are isolating or the names of persons living in the same household commits an offence.

    FPN amounts   

    The fixed-penalty notice amount is £1,000 for the first offence, £2,000 for the second, £4,000 for the third, £10,000 for the fourth, and subsequent offences.

    A person who obstructs, without reasonable excuse, any person carrying out a function under these regulations, or without reasonable excuse contravenes a requirement imposed by these regulations commits an offence. The FPN amount is £1,000 for the first offence, £2,000 for the second, £4,000 for the third, £10,000 for the fourth and subsequent offences.

    Linked households

    Definition of linked households

    Linked households are two households that are treated as one for the purposes of the regulations. But only where certain conditions are met, for example the first household comprises:

    • one adult
    • one or more children, and no adults
    • one adult and one or more persons who were under the age of 18 on the 12 June 2020
    • one or more adults and one or more children (under the age of one or were under that age on 2 December 2020)
    • one or more adults and one or more children who have a disability and require continuous care (who are under the age of five or were under that age on 2 December 2020)
    • one or more persons who have a disability and require continuous care, on their own or together with
      • one individual who does not have a disability, or
      • more than one such individual but including no more than one adult (who was aged 18 or over on 2 December 2020)

    There is no limit on the number of adults and children in the second household. All adult members of the households must agree to the link. Neither household can be linked with any other household. If the first and second households cease to be linked, either of them can link with another household but only after 10 days from the last meeting between a member from each household.

    Definition of linked childcare households

    Where a household includes at least one child aged 13 or under (the first household) they may choose to link with a second household for the purposes of providing informal childcare to the child. Various conditions apply.

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