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

First published
Updated
Written by College of Policing

Tier 4

As of 6 January 2021 all areas in England are in Tier 4.

Requirement to stay at home

Restrictions

No person may leave or be outside of the place where they are living without reasonable excuse.

Reasonable excuses for leaving home

These include but are not limited to the following.

General reasons

Where it is reasonably necessary to:

  • buy goods or obtain services from businesses permitted to trade (for themselves or someone in the same household, vulnerable persons, or for someone living with a vulnerable person)
  • obtain or deposit money 
  • take exercise outside
  • attend a place of worship
  • undertake certain activities in connection with the purchase, sale, letting or rental of a residential property, including moving house
  • visit a member of a household which is a linked household
  • collect food and drink, or goods which have been ordered from a business permitted to trade, or to access permitted services
  • visit a waste disposal or recycling centre 

Work, voluntary services, education and training

Where it is reasonably necessary:

  • for the purposes of work or to provide voluntary or charitable services, where it isn’t reasonably possible to do so from their home
  • for the purposes of education or training
  • to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person
  • to provide emergency assistance to any person
  • to fulfil a legal obligation or participate in legal proceedings
  • to access critical public services, including social services, Department for Work and Pensions services, immigration services or victim services 
  • to access services provided by voluntary or charitable services, including food banks

Elite athletes

Where a person is an elite sportsperson, a coach of an elite sportsperson, or (where the elite sportsperson is under 18), a parent of the elite sportsperson, and they need to leave and be outside their home for the purposes of training or competition.

Medical needs

Where it is reasonably necessary to:

  • seek medical assistance
  • donate blood or attend a medical trial
  • avoid injury or illness or escape a risk of harm
  • attend a person giving birth at their request
  • visit a person receiving treatment in a hospital or staying in a hospice or care home, or accompanying them to a medical appointment (must be a member of their household, close family member or a friend)

Support and respite

Where it is reasonably necessary to be outside of the home for:

  • death bed visits
  • funerals
  • marriages and civil partnerships
  • children, for example arrangements for access to and contact between parent and child
  • animal welfare such as veterinary services regarding the health and welfare of an animal a person owns or cares for, or to attend to the care of or exercise of an animal they own or care for
  • returning home from a place where they were on holiday immediately before these regulations came into force
  • prison visits to a person living in criminal justice or immigration detention accommodation where they are a close family member or a friend

Enforcement action – leaving home

Where an officer considers that a person is outside the place where they are living in contravention the restriction they can direct that person to return to the place where they are living. 

Children

Where the person in contravention of the Regulations is a child and they are accompanied by an individual who has responsibility for them:

  • a constable or PCSO may direct that individual to take the child to the place where they are living 
  • the responsible individual must, so far as reasonably practicable, ensure that the child complies with the direction
  • where the child repeatedly fails to comply with requirements, a constable or PCSO may direct the responsible individual to secure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the child complies with the restrictions
  • a constable or PCSO can issue a fixed-penalty notice to an adult who fails to secure compliance of a child for whom they are responsible

Officers cannot issue a fixed-penalty notice to anyone under 18 years old.

Offences

A person commits an offence if without reasonable excuse they contravene a Tier 4 restriction including if they:

  • contravene a requirement imposed, or a direction given in the enforcement of the restrictions
  • fail to comply with a reasonable instruction or a prohibition notice given by a relevant person 
  • obstruct any person carrying out a function under these regulations

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.

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 set out requirements for people arriving in England to provide passenger information (on a passenger locator form) and to self-isolate for 10 days.

Offences  

If you have reasonable grounds to believe that a person has left – or is outside of – the place where they are self-isolating, you can direct or remove them.

Exceptions apply, including (but not limited to):

  • to seek medical assistance
  • to avoid injury or escape harm
  • on compassionate grounds

Offences include where you have reasonable grounds to believe a person, aged 18 or over, has:

  • breached the requirement to self-isolate 
  • contravened a direction without reasonable excuse
  • obstructed a relevant person from acting under these regulations, without reasonable cause

FPN amounts  

Anyone in contravention of these requirements may be served with a fixed-penalty notice for £1,000 payable within 28 days.

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.

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:

  • only one adult
  • one adult and one or more children under the age of 18
  • one or more adults and a child under the age of 1 (on 2 December)
  • one or more adults and a child under the age of 5 (on 2 December) with disabilities requiring continuous care 

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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