Posted by: John Brace | 8 January 2021

What are the reasons you can leave your home in Wirral during the coronavirus pandemic under the new Tier 4 restrictions?

What are the reasons you can leave your home in Wirral during the coronavirus pandemic under the new Tier 4 restrictions?

                                  

Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) No 3 and (All Tiers) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 - public health regulations connected to the coronavirus pandemic

Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) No 3 and (All Tiers) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 – public health regulations connected to the coronavirus pandemic

By John Brace (Editor) and Leonora Brace (Co-Editor)

First publication date: 8th January 2021, 11:50 (GMT)

On Wednesday 6th January 2021, new public health regulations were agreed that resulted in Wirral going from a Tier 3 area to a Tier 4 area due to a type of coronavirus that spreads more quickly than before. These modifying regulations (Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 3) and (All Tiers) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021) came into force on the 6th January 2021.

Those who are categorised as “extremely clinically vulnerable” (a definition of that term and who it applies to can be found at this link) are asked to shield (although vaccinations are being rolled out to these groups).

However, the list of “reasonable excuses” why anyone can leave home in a Tier 4 area has been changed, but the sixteen categories (the list is numbered from 1 to 17 but one of the former categories has been repealed) can be found in full here but is summarised below.

Exception 1 – leaving home necessary for certain purposes

Exceptions in this category include that it is “reasonably necessary” to be buying goods or obtaining services from businesses that are still open in Tier 4 areas whether these goods or services are for their own use, others in the same household, vulnerable persons or those with a disability.

This category also covers leaving home to obtain money from or deposit money with businesses listed in categories (k) and (l) which are “banks, building societies, credit unions, short term loan providers, savings clubs, cash points, undertakings which by way of business operate currency exchange offices, transmit money (or any representation of money) by any means or cash cheques which are made payable to customer and post offices”.

Also covered in this category is leaving home to take exercise alone, with one or more members of their household, with one or more members of their linked household, exercise as part of informal childcare for a child aged 13 or younger, or with members of their linked childcare household. Exercise is also allowed in a public outdoor place with one other person who is not a member of their household, linked household or linked childcare household (with an exception for carers).

Also included are visits to attend a place of worship as are visits in five defined categories to do with the purchase, sale, letting or rental of a residential property.

Visits to a member of a linked household are allowed, as are collections of food, drink or other goods ordered from a business.

Visits to a waste or recycling centre are also allowed.

Exception 2: work, voluntary services, education and training etc

This exception covers work, volunteering and charitable services that can’t be done from home, leaving home “for a purpose of the type specified in paragraph 6(3) of this Schedule;”, providing care or assistance, including personal care to a vulnerable person (or person with a disability), providing emergency assistance to a person, fulfilling a legal obligation or participating in legal proceedings, accessing critical public services (social services, services provided by the Department for Work and Pensions, services provided to victims (including victims of crime) and asylum and immigration services and interviews) and also to access to services provided by voluntary or charitable services such as food banks.

Exception 3: elite athletes

Exception 3 applies to elite sportspersons, their coaches and if the elite sportsperson is under 18 a parent and relates to training or competition.

Exception 4: medical need

This covers where it is “reasonably necessary” to leave home to seek medical assistance (such as for medical tests, vaccination or “to access any of the services listed in paragraph 17(o) of the Schedule”). This category also covers donating blood, medical trials, avoiding injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm, attending a person giving birth (at the request of the person giving birth) or visiting a person receiving treatment in hospital, staying in a hospice or care home or accompanying a person to a medical appointment where a person is a member of their household, close family member or friend.

Exception 5: Support and respite

This category covers meetings of support groups “permitted to meet under paragraph 6(7);”, respite care for a vulnerable person or person with a disability and a short break being provided in respect of a looked after child.

Exception 6: death bed visit

This covers a visit to someone who is dying by a member of their household, close family member or friend.

Exception 7: funerals etc

This category covers attendance at a funeral, “commemorative event celebrating the life of a person who has died” or a visit to a burial ground or garden of remembrance to pay respects to a member of the household, family member or friend.

Exception 8: marriages and civil partnerships

This covers attendance at a marriage ceremony, civil partnership or an alternative wedding ceremony.

Exception 9: children

This category includes contact between parents and children where the parents live in different households, contact between siblings who are in care, prospective adopters meeting a child or children, “to access facilities for the activities described in paragraph 6(3) of this Schedule, or to accompany a child to those facilities where P is the parent or has parental responsibility for, or care of, the child in question”, later years provision, supervised activities for children, informal childcare of children 13 or under by a linked childcare household and placing children or facilitating children being placed in the care of another person by social services.

Exception 10: animal welfare

This category involves where it is “reasonably necessary” to visit a vet to seek advice about the health and welfare of a pet or animal and also covers care of or exercise of a pet or animal.

Exception 11: returning home

This involves returning home from a place where a person was on holiday immediately before these rules came into force.

Exception 12: prison and immigration detention visits

Visits to those living in criminal justice accommodation or immigration detention accommodation by a close family member or friend are covered by this category.

Exception 13: voting

This category covers voting, counting of votes or activities ancillary to voting or the counting of votes whether that be in UK elections or referendums or foreign nationals living here voting in their country’s election or referendum.

Exception 14: permitted outdoor sports gathering

Exception 14 is an outdoor sports gathering for persons who have a disability (but without spectators allowed to attend).

Exception 15 has been repealed.

Exception 16: students and vacation households

This relates to university students moving from their university address back to one other household for the holidays and travel back again (but only once before 8th February 2021).

Exception 17: picketing

Finally, this last exception relates to picketing (as long as it is a permitted gathering).

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Responses

  1. From what i have seen travelling to and from work this week [ my workplace will never close ], the traffic is the same as it ever was, [ remember last year during the first lockdown, nothing on the road and you could hear the birds singing!] As for other people again there seems to be people just milling around, not many people wearing face mask when they go into shops, and no body seems to stay two meters away from each other!
    So till you stop all of the above, and everything else people do together including sports, people will just keep catching it and the number of deaths will keep rising, and no Mr. Johnson the vaccine is not the answer to your prayers!
    Sorry but this lockdown is just a JOKE!

    • Thanks for your comment.

      Today a lot of the trains weren’t running on the Wirral and with people afraid again to take public transport – it may explain how the traffic on the roads hasn’t changed much.

      As to the issue of face masks and social distancing, generally those wearing face masks don’t seem to keep two metres away from other people as they assume their face mask offer some sort of protection.

      You are right though when the first lockdown happened last year people took it more seriously, as an asthmatic last year I noticed the decrease in traffic pollution.

  2. This whole method of inventing legislation to cope with the changing needs of the government is an invitation to test and challenge the law. Only yesterday the news highlighted the case of 2 women handed fixed penalty notices in the Peak District by Derbyshire Police. The women contested the FPNs and from what I could see, should the legislation be tested in court, it will probably fall in favour of the defendants.

    Apparently, Derbyshire Police are now “reviewing” the case and it won’t be surprising if they withdraw the FPNs. Of course, the only way to test the Tier 4 legislation is to challenge the FPNs in court and unless the offence is something obvious like a house party, cases like 2 people from different households taking exercise 5 miles from their homes is inviting the judicial system to trash such a case in minutes.

    Unfortunately, the pathetic handling of the Dominic Cummings/Barnard Castle debacle weakened the governments message by presenting a ‘do as I say but not as I do’ example. People have had enough and we have an ineffectual government without the moral compass necessary to lead by example.

    • Thanks for your comment.

      All the “reasonable excuses” for leaving home include the phrase “reasonably necesssary”.

      “Reasonable” as regular readers of this blog will know is a word that the First-tier Tribunal judiciary has in the past given whatever meaning they want to and (although set aside on appeal) the last time I was accused of being “unreasonable” the judiciary stated it didn’t matter what I thought was reasonable, as my opinion wasn’t important!

      So if it went to court, the arguments would be whether it was “reasonably necessary” for the person or persons to leave their home. The person/s would claim it was, the people enforcing would claim it wasn’t, leaving it to the judiciary to decide exactly what reasonably necessary means!

      • Then again, we are dealing with new legislation under unique circumstances so the judiciary don’t really have any recent precedent to go on for ‘reasonable’ scenarios. Especially when we have a situation where a senior government advisor can travel from London to Northumberland during national lockdown and not fall foul of the legislation. Child care needs obviously passed the ‘reasonable’ litmus test. Taking ‘daily exercise’ must carry similar weight in defence.

        • Thanks for your comment.

          Well Derbyshire Police after reviewing the fixed penalty notices issued have cancelled them.

          I think after Boris Johnson’s bike ride in Olympic Park seven miles from where he lives (which is an even further distance from where he lives than the issue in the Derbyshire cases), I think I’ll point out that the regulations (in England) don’t appear to specify a maximum distance travelled from home for exercise and it’s really the regulations that the judiciary should look at if a case was brought before them where it was alleged someone breached them.

          It’s possible there was confusion with the situation in Scotland where I think there was a 5 miles from home rule (I’m not sure if this is still the case or not).


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