With Wales going into a Fire Break Lock down, we sat down with our Private Crime Solicitor Amy Fair and discussed the Do's and Don'ts.
The lockdown has put in place restrictive measures to address the rising number of cases of coronavirus and to help the NHS from being overwhelmed.
Penalties for breaching any requirements under the Fire Break Lockdown are dealt with in accordance with The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 3) (Wales) Regulations 2020.
The guidance within the regulations sets out that breaches of the regulations will commit an offence punishable by a fixed penalty notice or alternatively, criminal proceedings resulting in a potential conviction.
What Are the Restrictions?
You must stay at home, except for very limited purposes
You must not visit other households or meet other people that you do not live with
You must wear face coverings in the indoor public spaces that remain open (subject to certain exemptions and exceptions), including on public transport and in taxis
You should only be outside of your home for very limited reasons, which include:
· The need to obtain supplies and services for you or your household, for example food, medicine, and essential household maintenance. We encourage everyone to make this as infrequently as possible
· To exercise, alone or with members of your household. We encourage this to be done locally.
· To access childcare and education
· To access medical services or other public services
· To deposit and withdraw money from a bank or similar establishment
· To provide care for or to help a vulnerable person; this includes getting food or medicines for them
· To help the NHS by donating blood
· For work purposes, or voluntary or charitable purposes, but only where it is not reasonably practicable to do this from home
· To visit a cemetery, burial ground, or garden of remembrance to pay your respects
· To attend a wedding, civil partnership, or funeral if you are invited
· To attend court or meet other legal obligations
· To escape a risk of illness or injury, such as for victims or people at risk of domestic abuse
· To access services provided to victims of crime or domestic abuse or those at imminent risk of becoming victims
Fixed Penalty Notices
If you breach any of the above restrictions, and you are over the age of 18, a fixed penalty will be issued by an enforcement officer. An enforcement officer can be a police constable, a police community support officer or a person designated by the Welsh Ministers or a Local Authority.
A fixed penalty notice must give reasonably detailed particulars of the circumstances alleged to constitute the offence; state the period during which proceedings will not be taken for the offence (28 days); specify the amount of the fixed penalty; state the name and address of the person to whom the fixed penalty may be paid and; specify permissible methods of payment.
The fixed penalty is £60 and can be reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days of the date of notice.
The penalty can be increased if it is found that this is not be the first time that you have been found breaching the restrictions in place. The enforcement officer can consider any fixed penalty notice issued since the implementation of the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (Wales) Regulations 2020 on 26 March 2020.
The Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions) (No. 3) (Wales) Regulations 2020 sets out the following:
· In the case of the second fixed penalty notice received, £120.
· In the case of the third fixed penalty notice received, £240.
· In the case of the fourth fixed penalty notice received, £480.
· In the case of the fifth fixed penalty notice received, £960.
· In the case of the sixth and any subsequent fixed penalty notice received, £1920.
In the event that you do not pay the fine within the 28-day period from when the notice was issued, the enforcement officer can recommend that you be prosecuted and be sanctioned by the Court.
In such cases, you will be summoned by the Court and will receive a conviction for this offence. A fine will also be imposed as a penalty, with the amount being discretionary and not limited.
If you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01554 749144.