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New Regulations published detailing restrictions and relaxations from 29th March 2021 for England

The Regulations set out a stepped approach to relaxing restrictions

“The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Steps) (England) 2021 Regulations have been published by the government and set out a stepped approach to ending the lockdown in England. The regulations come into effect on the 29th March and do not have a timescale for relaxing restrictions, rather they set out that there will be 3 Steps, each with progressively reduced restrictions. On 29th March 2021 all parts of England will enter Step 1, which primarily permits groups of up to six persons to meet outdoors.

It is to be hoped however that in due course parts or indeed all of England will be included in Step 2, meaning that the more relaxed provisions applicable under that Step will then apply, and so on in line with the Government’s 4-Step plan out of lockdown expiring on 30th June 2021.

For example, under Step 2, which under the Roadmap is planned for no earlier than 12th April, pubs, bars and restaurants will have to close any indoor premises for ‘on’ sales but may sell food or drink, including alcohol, for consumption outdoors on the premises if:

  1. the food or drink is ordered by, and served to, a customer who is seated outdoors on the premises (table service), and
  2. the operator takes all reasonable steps to ensure that the customer remains seated outdoors whilst consuming the food or drink on the premises.

There is no mention of substantial meals or a curfew.

Under Step 2 toilets will be permitted to remain open (including for premises selling alcohol). For premises not selling alcohol customers may order and pay for food and drinks by entering an indoor part of the premises; it appears for premises selling alcohol that payment will be required at least outside, if not specifically at the table.

In Step 2, casinos, bingo halls, bowling alleys and snooker and pool halls, cinemas and theatres (except drive-ins), will remain closed. A full list of those businesses required to remain closed during Step 2 is at pp57-59 of the regulations.

Steps 1-3 and their associated restrictions are set out in Schedules.

The need for the restrictions must be reviewed by the Secretary of State every 35 days.

This is a very brief summary and further analysis will follow.

For further information on this or any other licensing advice, contact one of our specialist licensing solicitors:

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