PEOPLE in England can be fined £200 for leaving their homes without a reasonable excuse from today as new coronavirus laws came into effect.
It means people will face fixed penalty notices and potentially a criminal record for being caught going away on holiday – as that’s not a named excuse on the list.
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From today people have been told to stay home unless they are leaving for work, exercise, medical need, to get food, or a string of other reasons.
Travelling in and out of their local area is also not allowed, and people may face fines if they break the laws.
The fine will be reduced to £100 if paid within 14 days but repeat offenders could be hit with penalties rising to £6,400 – or a conviction if they challenge it in the courts.
Specific exemptions for leaving your home for non-elite sport, protest and wedding receptions have been removed – meaning you can now face penalties for that too.
There are a series of other things you can be fined for in the new coronavirus laws – most of which were already in place in some areas before the second lockdown came into force.
For example, different households are banned from mixing indoors or in private gardens, unless in a support bubble.
But meetings of two people from different households in an outdoor public space, such as a park, are allowed.
People can still face fines for not self-isolating when they are ordered to (£1,000) and for attending or organising gatherings (up to £10,000).
And businesses can face extra penalties too for not upholding the laws in their premises.
Businesses can be fined £1,000 for a first offence, £2,000 for the second, £4,000 for the third and £10,000 for the fourth and subsequent breaches.
However, police are expected to exercise judgement on a case-by-case basis.
A 21-page College of Policing guide for officers states: “The list of reasonable excuses is not exhaustive and it is key that officers exercise judgment in a case where they encounter a person with an excuse that is not included in the list of exceptions.”
Officers have been advised to engage with people and explain the changes to the law and offer “encouragement to comply” voluntarily, with enforcement used only as “a last resort”.
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If an officer believes someone is outside their home without a reasonable excuse, they can direct them to return home.
Officers can order people in an illegal gathering to disperse or return to their home and can use “reasonable force” to remove someone.
Police can issue someone who is “reasonably believed” to have committed an offence under the regulations with a fixed-penalty notice.
An adult with responsibility for a child in breach of the regulations can be told to take them home.
All the reasons you can leave home during the second lockdown in England – and you could face a fine if you do
- To buy goods or obtain services from a business that’s open – or to get them for a vulnerable person
- To exercise outside – either alone, with your household or one person from outside your household
- To provide informal childcare for someone under 13
- For ‘recreation’ – to visit a public outdoor place for enjoyment – such as going to the park
- To attend a place of worship
- To attend a Remembrance event
- To undertake activities in connection with or required to buy, sell or let out a home
- To visit an estate agent, home, or show home to buy or rent
- Moving house
- To visit the tip or a recycling centre
- To collect food or drink from a take-away venue
- To visit people in your support bubble
- To go to work, school, training or volunteer work
- To fulfil legal obligations such as attending court or bail proceedings
- To access critical public services including social services, DWP job centres, food banks or victim support
- For medical need – including appointments, tests, vaccinations, to donate blood, to be with someone giving birth, or to avoid injury and escape harm
- For support groups – such as vulnerable person’s meetings, to care for someone with a disability
- To visit someone who is dying if you’re family or a close friend
- For a funeral, celebration of life or to visit a grave and pay respects
- For a wedding – but these are only allowed if one of the party is dying
- For childcare reasons – such as for kids to visit both parents
- To look after animals including exercising them
- To return home from a holiday
- To visit someone in prison