I was reading the new “framework” for local authorities to use to close down businesses last night.
Couple of very very interesting paragraphs, to me perhaps the absolutely most important ones in the whole document are:
o address more serious and wider-spread cases, ministers will be able to use their existing powers (under the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984) to implement more substantial restrictions (regulations would be produced – and approved by Parliament – on a case-by-case basis) which could include:
closing businesses and venues in whole sectors (such as food production or non-essential retail), or within a defined geographical areas (such as towns or counties)
imposing general restrictions on movement of people (including requirements to ‘stay at home’, or to prevent people staying away from home overnight stays, or restrictions on entering or leaving a defined area)
imposing restrictions on gatherings – limiting how many people can meet and whether they can travel in and out of an area to do so
restricting local or national transport systems – closing them entirely, or introducing capacity limits or geographical restrictions
mandating use of face coverings in a wider range of public places
Public Health (Control of Disease Act) 1984 [sections 45G, 45H and 45I]: local authorities can make an application to a Justice of the Peace in the Magistrates’ Court to impose restrictions or requirements to close contaminated premises; close public spaces in the area of the local authority; detain a conveyance or movable structure; disinfect or decontaminate premises; or order that a building, conveyance or structure be destroyed
So reading between the lines central Government has told local authorities to stop making it up a you go along, you cannot use health and safety legislation to do enforce any restrictions and to start doing it by the book – which is pretty involved and means paying out compensation by the council to anyone and any business they serve notice on.
Council has to prove that the premises are contaminated by the exact virus as defined in the supporting S.I. – which at the moment cannot be done – before applying for a JP to sign a notice.
A bit of a win (albeit small at the moment until people and businesses spread the word and learn how to handle the councils, appeals, compensation process and so on) I think.
Be a bit bigheaded here – Exactly as my arguments with the local councils have been about in recent months and I received in writing from 3 different councils they are not following the correct legislation.
One to the little people maybe?