WestEndExtra

The independent London newspaper

Know your rights

22 May, 2020

Prime Minister Boris Johnson

• THE lockdown regulations for England were altered a few days ago and once again we’ve suffered a rash of confusing or misleading statements by politicians (and others) who it appears don’t know their own laws.

For example, it’s repeatedly said that the rule of going out for exercise only once a day has been removed. There was no such rule in England.

Under the new arrangements people can travel to public open spaces for more than just exercise. The prime minister referred in his TV speech to reaching them by driving so the places people can visit include those at some distance.

Further statements from government indicated that this was because driving involved no proximity to other people. One might think that this means that if you do not have a car you cannot have a day out.

The amended Regulation Six, which contains the actual enforceable law, simply says you can visit public open spaces for recreation to promote mental or physical health or emotional wellbeing plus meet one member of another household.

Nothing is said about any restriction as to how to get there. That means the law allows you to travel by public transport, while being advised to distance.

This is important since those who are suffering most from the lockdown will be the less well-off who often do not own cars. In the circles the PM moves in it’s probably inconceivable that anyone would not have a car.

Of particular concern are those badly affected by week after week of confinement who need days out for their mental and physical health.

In view of the sometimes over-zealous enforcement of the earlier rules, and misapplications of the law now uncovered by the recent Crown Prosecution Service review, it’s important people should know their legal rights.

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