RE-OPENING WITHIN LEGISLATION
There are ways in which you could repurpose your business to re-open within Government Legislation. This solution is more viable for some businesses than others depending on your current business operation. Our aim is to provide businesses with information on various options already being used/trialled across the UK.
If you haven’t done so already, you’re encouraged to read through the all of the options on this website and to do your own research before deciding on how to re-open.
Business owners have already legally re-opened their businesses working within legislation. No approach is without risk, but we’ve done our best to provide the information and templates you need to repurpose your business and work within legislation.
The information provided here details how you could repurpose your business as an “essential” service in line with the current coronavirus legislation.
Every act to reclaim your right to work is essential. Read on to see if working within legislation could work for you.
Summary of Relevant Legislation
This information has been taken from the following legislation, detailing how you could legally repurpose your business as essential by using the following exceptions.
2020 No. 1374
PUBLIC HEALTH, ENGLAND
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions)
(All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020.
Tier 4 Exceptions:
The above legislation (Schedule 3A) details the requirement to close ‘non-essential’ premises and businesses. However, the following legal exceptions apply.
SCHEDULE 3A Part 3; Closure of, and restrictions on, businesses.
Exceptions to paragraphs 10 and 11
12.— (1) Paragraphs 10(1) and 11(1) do not prevent the use of—
(a) any premises used for a restricted business or restricted service—
(i) to provide essential voluntary services or urgent public support services, including the provision of food banks or other support for the homeless or vulnerable people, blood donation sessions or support in an emergency;
(b) any premises used for the making of a film, television programme, audio programme or audio-visual advertisement;
(j) tanning, nail, beauty or hair salons, barbers, spas, massage parlours, tattoo and piercing parlours, so far as used for the purposes of providing any of the services listed in paragraph 17(o);
((17. (o) dental services, opticians, audiology services, chiropody, chiropractors, osteopaths and other medical or health services, including [F226 services which incorporate personal care services and treatments required by those with disabilities and] services relating to mental health.))
Documentary: Perhaps you could create a documentary detailing the catastrophic effects of lockdown on small businesses and your customers? Could you create or host podcasts in your premises? Could you produce educational/training material? How could you promote ways to look after mental health? Could some of your services be deemed as therapeutics for mental health? If so why not advertise for volunteers and get the camera rolling!
SCHEDULE 3A PART 2; Restrictions on Gatherings
Exception 3: gatherings necessary for certain purposes
(4) Exception 3 is that the gathering is reasonably necessary—
(a) for work purposes or for the provision of voluntary or charitable services;
(b) to provide emergency assistance;
(c) to enable one or more persons in the gathering to avoid injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm;
Exception 6: support groups
(7) Exception 6 is that—
(a) the gathering—
(i) is of a support group,
(ii) consists of no more than 15 persons, and
(iii) takes place at premises other than a private dwelling, and
(b) it is reasonably necessary for members of the group to be physically present at the gathering.
Support Groups: The damage to the UK economy is catastrophic and the nation’s mental health is suffering across all age groups. Could you open your doors to those in need to host voluntary services and support groups?
Could you repurpose your business by providing essential services to your community? The men, women and children of the UK need the support of UK businesses now more than ever. Our future in is your hands!
Repurposing your business.
Establishments serving food and drink
Why not host essential business meetings, support groups, or even become a film/podcast production studio. You could research the going rate for room hire or accept donations for the use of your premises for support groups and/or charitable purposes.
What you might need: Your premises will need tables, chairs and/or lounge areas where meetings can take place. You could also provide paper, pens and a reliable internet connection, should the attendees require it.
Establishments providing personal services:
Businesses providing personal services such as health and fitness, personal care, tattoo parlours, hairdressers, non-essential retail etc; an option for you is to provide the essential service of a ‘film and/or audio and/or podcast production studio’.
What you might need: ‘actors’, ‘models’ and ‘guests’ for the show, documentary or promotional video you are creating. Audio, video and sound equipment; modern mobile phones are excellent tool to record and take photos of your studio sessions, perhaps all you need is a stand or a tripod!
Case Study: See this approach in action. A Barbershop in Ontario, Canada has repurposed as a film production studio for the last few weeks.
‘Barbershop? No, this is a film production studio | Chrome Artistic Barbering rebrands itself’
Leisure facilities including gyms and community halls
You could advertise your premises as available to support groups and charitable causes. After all, these types of premises are all about health and well-being, why not make use and provide a warm environment supporting those most in need.
What you might need: Meeting space including chairs for up to 15 people socially distanced. That’s all!
- Advertising / promotional material: If you’re choosing to work within legislation it’s important the message in regard to the new service you are offering is clear to your existing customers.
Websites, social media and other promotional tools; ensure any promotional material is reworded to reflect the changes to your essential business services.
You may need to rely on this as evidence so be clear you are working within legislation and make sure you’re familiar with the guidance relevant to you.
You can advertise for volunteers, support groups, charities, business customers, actors, models or participants etc to avoid any association with previous customers.
- Risk assessments and necessary ‘covid-safe’ requirements: Visible signage to confirm to both your attendees sufficient risk assessments have been carried out and reminds them of government guidelines e.g mask exemptions, track and trace and social distancing etc. See the required precautions below.
Template risk assessments and other relevant documents can be found in the downloads section. Risk assessments could reflect you have re-opened as a ‘business meeting space’ or ‘film/audio/podcast production studio’, or for charitable/support group purposes.
Attendees will need to adhere to government guidelines unless they are exempt of course. Ensure you display any appropriate ‘covid-safe’ signage.
- If filming/recording: Participants in your recordings are to be considered ‘actors’, ‘models’ and or guests on a show. Recordings and photography of your work does not have to be constant and can take place occasionally, however it is important you stick with what you’ve stated you’re doing.
Make sure you get footage and have a clear indication on how it will be used, e.g. for a documentary, podcast, promotional material etc, you can edit content later and not everything will make the cut. These recordings or photographs could also be used for promotional use with the attendee’s permission of course.
As well as relevant risk assessments, it’s important you have also taken the required precautions as identified within legislation, detailed below.
The Required Precautions:
To operate within legislation, businesses must follow the following precautions as detailed within PART 1 of the statutory instrument 1374:
The required precautions
7.—(1) The gathering organiser or (as the case may be) the manager in relation to a gathering takes the required precautions for the purposes of these Regulations by meeting both of the following requirements.
(2) The first requirement is that the gathering organiser or manager has carried out a risk assessment that would satisfy the requirements of regulation 3 of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 F47 (whether or not the organiser or manager is subject to those Regulations).
(3) The second requirement is that the gathering organiser or manager has taken all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of coronavirus, taking into account—
(a) the risk assessment carried out under paragraph (2), and
(b) any guidance issued by the government which is relevant to the gathering.
Risk assessments: Template risk assessments can be provide by us. You should ensure these are carried out and completed relevant to your repurposed business offering.
Completed risk assessments: Display your completed risk assessment in a window or door making it clearly visible at all times. Print out several copies to pass to authorities (through the door or letterbox) should the need arise.
Trespass Notice: A trespass notice has been provided which you could display next to your completed risk assessment. It should be visible from the outside and somewhere you could point authorities to. This serves as a reminder to the authorities of your standing in law.
If the authorities arrive: Remember; you don’t have to open the door of your business premises unless the authorities have a signed warrant to do so. Direct them to where your risk assessments and trespass notice has been displayed.
Dealing with authorities – Know Your Rights
If you’re reading this document it is likely you would prefer to work with the authorities, hoping to appeal to their better nature and they will honour the fact they are civil servants.
You can handle visits from authorities in one of two ways. By either engaging with them or trying to avoid it! Management should deal with interactions with any authorities as employees are not equipped to do so or obliged to answer any questions.
Working with the authorities
Remember, civil servants are fellow men and women of the UK and it’s likely they’ve been affected by extreme government measures, along with their friends and family too. Remain calm and try to appeal to their better nature.
By repurposing your businesses by providing essential services to the community you are well within your legal rights to be open.
Avoid making any claims or statements which could be used against you at a later date. Although most people working for the authorities are there for the right reasons, some are scared, believe the governments narrative or are “just following orders”.
Do refer to the relevant legislation and exceptions, point them to your completed risk assessments and the Trespass Notice. Most importantly: Film everything!
Avoiding interaction with the authorities.
If the authorities show up you are not obliged to open the door to your premises unless they have a warrant to do so. Film every interaction with the authorities as soon as they arrive!
Keep the door closed, explain you are working within exceptions of “The Health Protection Regulations” and point them to your trespass notice and completed risk assessments.
If they continue to ask questions you can answer a question with a question:
- What regulations do you believe I am breaching?
- Do you hold the office of constable? Have you sworn an oath to uphold human rights?
- If yes, have you investigated any of the government claims?
- How do you feel about enforcing civil matters rather than investigating real criminals?
- Can you put your complaint or questions in writing please?
- Have you seen my trespass notice and completed risk assessments?
- Am I obliged to answer your questions?
- Can I have your name and badge number please?
More information on interactions with the authorities will be added to this website the coming days and weeks.
Never say you understand! It means to stand under their authority; more below.
Powers of entry.
Police must use the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) codes of practice when liaising with the public on COVID legislation.
Police must have a warrant to enter, so ask to see it before you let them in. If no crime is being committed then access to your property is unlawful. Don’t let them in!
A prohibition notice can only be served to the business owner if it can be proven that the business owner has broken the legislation rules.
If you’re issued with a fine:
Don’t ignore it. Follow the steps outlined under “If you’re issued with a prohibition notice” below.
Remember; breaching Coronavirus legislation (you’re working within it) is an offence punishable by fine only and a fine only becomes enforceable if you’re found guilty at court. Proceedings for an offence pursuant to this may be brought by a local authority, the Crown Prosecution Service and any person designated by the Secretary of State.
Don’t pay it. If you do it’s an admission of guilt. You should be willing to take this to court. If you’ve done your risk assessments, are working within legislation and have evidence you are doing so, you’ve got nothing to worry about.
The UK court system currently has a backlog of over 500,000 cases. Should the police continue to issue fines for coronavirus legislation breaches related to The Great Re-Opening the system will become overwhelmed, and who knows, may even be dismissed so they can handle real crimes!
Remember, The Great Re-opening’s network of volunteers is growing by the day and there are plenty of people on hand, with various skills, willing to help.
If you’re issued with a prohibition notice
Don’t ignore it. If you ignore the fine or prohibition notice it will be deemed as consent through tacit acquiescence. You need to rebut the offer.
If you have not opened the envelope, write on the outside of the envelope at a 45degree angle as follows (this works with fines also):
Take a photograph as evidence that you returned the offer back to the sender.
If you have opened the fine or prohibition notice envelope, you need to respond back within 3 days with a conditional acceptance. The conditional acceptance process is a three-letter process, so conditional acceptance one is sent, then ten days later you send the second notice, and ten days after that, the third is sent. If/when a court summons comes, you file a copy of all the notices you sent with the evidence that the corporation issuing the fine acted in dishonour by not responding to your conditions (which they won’t – they will just keeping sending standard threatening letters), under the case number they have given you before the hearing date.
You do not need to go to attend the court on the hearing date, the judge will see that you have acted in honour from your paperwork and as the conditions were not rebutted, that becomes truth in law. All the templates are available on the website.
Going through this process takes a bit more effort than just handing over your hard-earned money, but it is also a hit back at the system who are acting unlawfully in the first place. Paying fines is feeding the beast.
If they attempt to arrest you:
Never admit any wrongdoing, if they ask you if you understand, say no! Again, you can either choose to give your details to the police or refuse to:
a. Give your details:
- Say “The Person’s details are: “ as then you are acting as a third person and not creating a joinder. You can rebut any fines they send you using the same system as detailed above.
b. Don’t give your details.
- Say “I do not consent”
- Ask if you’re obliged to answer their questions (Ask the same question three times, this is important)
- Ask for details on what crime has been committed, where is the victim, and the evidence.
- Refuse to give your name and address
Many people have been successfully using Common Law and Contract Law to handle interactions with the police. You can find more information under the business section, along with case studies and links to other businesses successfully using these techniques to defend opening their businesses
A note on police officers and The Office of Constable
Not every police officer holds The Office of Constable. This is important because police constables have sworn the following oath declaring they will uphold fundamental human rights, including your right to work. The Police Federation state:
“Police officers must be apolitical, impartial and accountable for their actions. If not, how and what we police will become subject to political whim and electioneering. The operational independence of our police service comes with the Office of Constable.”
We highly recommended you read the above article from the Police Federations website detailing the importance of The Office of Constable. Anyone else is just an employee!
The Oath of The Office of Constable:
“I do solemnly and sincerely declare and affirm that I will well and truly serve the Queen in the office of constable, with fairness, integrity, diligence and impartiality, upholding fundamental human rights and according equal respect to all people; and that I will, to the best of my power, cause the peace to be kept and preserved and prevent all offences against people and property; and that while I continue to hold the said office I will to the best of my skill and knowledge discharge all the duties thereof faithfully according to law.”
Always ask the attending officer/constable if they are under oath or hold the officer of constable. Police Constables will have a warrant card which is photographic ID matching their badge number and is kept in a flip wallet.
This will show you know your rights and will not be victim to scare tactics.
Make sure you have all the evidence you need should the need arise to defend yourself in court. Keep printed copies of relevant documentation to hand should you need to pass it to authorities.
- Do you know what part of the legislation you are operating within?
- Have you completed service specific and Covid-safe risk assessments and displayed them somewhere visible?
- Are you displaying relevant and necessary signage relating to “Covid-safe” practices in line with government guidance?
- Have you printed and displayed a trespass notice?
- Do your marketing materials reflect your new services?
- Do you need permission from your insurers or landlord for your new services?
- How/where will you keep record all documents, risk assessments and recordings to use as evidence?
- If you’re recording content, how, when and where will this be used? Could you detail a supporting document outlining the plan for promotional materials?
- Are you confident handling authorities?
- Have you done your own research?
As previously mentioned, our team of volunteers from various backgrounds are researching and adding content to this website daily, please do use this resource and check back for updates.
We can only go back to normal with the support of businesses like yours. Every small act of re-opening makes a huge difference.
Customer Registrations: The website is now set-up to take customer registrations detailing what services willing patrons are looking for in your area. Together we save the economy and save lives.
The Great Re-opening
Please watch the video below for a demonstration of how to conduct yourself if the police come to your business premises: