Health (Preservation and Protection and other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Act 2020

10.

Amendment of Act of 1947

10. The Act of 1947 is amended by the insertion of the following sections after section 31:

Regulations for preventing, limiting, minimising or slowing spread of Covid-19

31A. (1) The Minister may, having regard to the immediate, exceptional and manifest risk posed to human life and public health by the spread of Covid-19 and to the matters specified in subsection (2), make regulations for the purpose of preventing, limiting, minimising or slowing the spread of Covid-19 (including the spread outside the State) or where otherwise necessary, to deal with public health risks arising from the spread of Covid-19 and, without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, such regulations may, in particular, provide for all or any of the following:

(a) restrictions to be imposed upon travel to or from the State;

(b) restrictions to be imposed upon travel to, from or within geographical locations to which an affected areas order applies;

(c) without prejudice to the generality of paragraph (b), restrictions to be imposed upon persons or classes of persons resident in, working in or visiting locations referred to in paragraph (b) including (but not limited to)—

(i) requiring persons to remain in their homes, or

(ii) without prejudice to any other provisions of this Act or regulations made thereunder requiring persons to remain in such other places, as may be specified by the Minister;

(d) the prohibition of events, or classes of events, including (but not limited to) events—

(i) which, by virtue of the nature, format, location or environment of the event concerned or the arrangements for, or the activities involved in, or the numbers likely to be attending, the event could reasonably be considered to pose a risk of infection with Covid-19 to persons attending the event,

(ii) at specified geographical locations to which an affected areas order applies,

(iii) at locations which by virtue of the nature, format, or environment of the locations concerned or the arrangements for, or the activities involved in, or the numbers likely to be attending the type of events at the locations, could reasonably be considered to pose a risk of infection with Covid-19 to persons attending at events at those locations,

(iv) where the level of proposed attendance or likely level of attendance at the event could reasonably be considered to pose a risk of infection with Covid-19 to persons attending the event;

(e) the safeguards required to be put in place by event organisers in relation to events in order to prevent, limit, minimise or slow the risk of persons attending any such event of being infected with Covid-19;

(f) the safeguards required to be put in place by owners or occupiers of a premises or a class of premises (including the temporary closure of such premises) in order to prevent, limit, minimise or slow the risk of persons attending such premises of being infected with Covid-19;

(g) the safeguards required to be put in place by owners or occupiers of any other place or class of place, (including the temporary closure of such place or class of place) in order to prevent, limit, minimise or slow the risk of persons attending at such place or class of place of being infected with Covid-19;

(h) without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing paragraphs, the safeguards required to be put in place by managers (howsoever described) of schools, including language schools, creches or other childcare facilities, universities or other educational facilities (including the temporary closure of such facilities) to prevent, minimise, limit, or slow the risk of infection of persons attending such premises of being infected with Covid-19;

(i) any other measures that the Minister considers necessary in order to prevent, limit, minimise or slow the spread of Covid-19;

(j) the giving of notices, the particulars to be contained therein and the manner in which such notices may be given for the purposes of the regulations;

(k) such additional, incidental, consequential or supplemental matters as the Minister considers necessary or expedient for the purposes of giving full effect to the regulations.

(2) When making regulations under subsection (1), the Minister—

(a) shall have regard to the following:

(i) the fact that a national emergency has arisen of such character that there is an immediate and manifest risk to human life and public health as a consequence of which it is expedient in the public interest that extraordinary measures should be taken to safeguard human life and public health;

(ii) the fact that a declaration of Public Health Emergency of International Concern was made by the World Health Organisation in respect of Covid-19 and that Covid-19 was duly declared by that Organisation to be a pandemic;

(iii) the fact that Covid-19 poses significant risks to human life and public health by virtue of its potential for incidence of mortality;

(iv) the policies and objectives of the Government to take such protective measures as are practicable to vindicate the life and bodily integrity of citizens against a public health risk;

(v) the need to act expeditiously in order to prevent, limit, minimise or slow the spread of Covid-19;

(vi) the resources of the health services, including the number of health care workers available at a given time, the capacity of the workers to undertake measures, to test persons for Covid-19 and to provide care and treatment to persons infected with Covid-19, the necessity to take such measures as are appropriate to protect health care workers from infection from Covid-19, and the capacity of hospitals or other institutions to accommodate and facilitate the provision of care and treatment to infected persons;

(vii) the resources, including the financial resources, of the State;

(viii) the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of the Department of Health,

and

(b) may, have regard to any relevant guidance (including, in particular, any guidance relating to the risk assessment for, and case definition relating to, Covid-19) provided by the World Health Organisation, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre of the Health Service Executive and other persons with relevant medical and scientific expertise.

(3) Before making regulations under subsection (1), the Minister—

(a) shall consult any other Minister of the Government as he or she considers appropriate having regard to the functions of that other Minister of the Government, and

(b) may consult any other person as the Minister considers appropriate for the purposes of these regulations.

(4) The Minister may, having consulted any other Minister of the Government as he or she considers appropriate having regard to the functions of that other Minister of the Government, exempt specified classes of persons including, but not limited to persons, who perform essential services, including statutory duties or other specified public or other services, from regulations under subsection (1).

(5) This section is without prejudice to the provisions of section 31, including as they may relate to Covid-19.

(6) A person who—

(a) contravenes a provision of a regulation made under subsection (1) that is stated to be a penal provision,

(b) obstructs, interferes with or impedes a relevant person in the course of exercising a power conferred by regulations under this section on that relevant person,

(c) fails or refuses to give to a relevant person information—

(i) that is within the first-mentioned person’s knowledge,

(ii) that the first-mentioned person is required by regulations under this section to give the relevant person, and

(iii) that the first-mentioned person has been requested to give, or has been otherwise informed of the requirement to give, to a relevant person,

or

(d) in purported compliance with a requirement under regulations under subsection (1), gives information to a relevant person that, to the first-mentioned person’s knowledge, is false or misleading in any material particular,

shall be guilty of an offence.

(7) A member of the Garda Síochána who suspects, with reasonable cause, that a person is contravening or has contravened a provision of a regulation made under subsection (1) that is stated to be a penal provision, may, for the purposes of ensuring compliance with the regulation, direct the person to take such steps as the member considers necessary to comply with the provision.

(8) (a) A person who, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, fails to comply with a direction under subsection (7) shall be guilty of an offence.

(b) A member of the Garda Síochána may arrest without warrant a person whom the member has reasonable cause for believing is committing or has committed an offence under this subsection.

(9) A member of the Garda Síochána who has reasonable grounds for believing that a person is committing or has committed an offence under this section may require the person to state his or her name and address.

(10) A person who fails or refuses to state his or her name and address in compliance with a requirement under subsection (9), or who, in purported compliance with such a requirement, states a name or address that is false or misleading, shall be guilty of an offence.

(11) A member of the Garda Síochána may arrest without warrant any person whom the member has reasonable cause for believing has committed an offence under subsection (10).

(12) A person who commits an offence under this section is liable on summary conviction to a class C fine, or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months, or both.

(13) (a) Regulations under subsection (1) may provide for their implementation and enforcement by a person (in this section referred to as a ‘relevant person’), or group of such relevant persons, as may be specified, and for this purpose different persons, or combinations of persons, may be so specified for different purposes in, or in relation to different provisions of, such regulations.

(b) Without prejudice to the generality of paragraph (a), persons who may be specified under this subsection include—

(i) an authorised officer,

(ii) a medical officer of health,

(iii) an officer of the Minister for Justice and Equality,

(iv) an officer of customs (within the meaning of the Customs Act 2015), or

(v) a person, or group of persons, appointed by the Health Service Executive.

(14) Without prejudice to the generality of section 95, a relevant person may, in the course of exercising a power or performing a function conferred on that officer by regulations under subsection (1), require a member of the Garda Síochána to assist in the exercise of the power or the performance of the function, including by way of temporarily detaining any person, bringing a person to any place, breaking open of any premises, or any other action in which the use of force may be necessary and is lawful, and any member of the Garda Síochána so required shall comply with the requirement.

(15) (a) Where an offence under this section is committed by a body corporate and it is proved that the offence was committed with the consent or connivance, or was attributable to any wilful neglect, of a person who was a director, manager, secretary or other officer of the body corporate, or a person purporting to act in that capacity, that person shall, as well as the body corporate, be guilty of an offence and may be proceeded against and punished as if he or she were guilty of the first-mentioned offence.

(b) Where the affairs of a body corporate are managed by its members, paragraph (a) shall apply in relation to the acts and defaults of a member in connection with his or her functions of management as if he or she were a director or manager of the body corporate.

(16) In this section, section 31B and section 38A—

‘event’ means a gathering of persons, whether the gathering is for cultural, entertainment, recreational, sporting, commercial, work, social, community, educational, religious or other reasons, and includes but is not limited to a gathering which is required to be subject to a consent, licence or other form of permission granted in relation to it by any Minister of the Government or public body pursuant to any enactment or rule of law which provides for the regulation of proper planning and sustainable development, traffic management, sale of alcohol, safety and health at work or otherwise;

‘event organiser’, in relation to an event, means a person who—

(a) is engaged in publicising, arranging, organising or managing the event, or

(b) receives some or all of the revenue, where applicable, from the event;

‘premises’ includes a building or any part of a building, any outdoor space surrounding or adjacent to the premises, whether or not used in conjunction with the premises, any land, premises, tent, caravan, or other temporary or moveable structure, ship or other vessel, aircraft, railway carriage or other vehicle (whether stationary or otherwise) and any storage container.

(17) In this section, section 31B and section 38A—

‘Covid-19’ means a disease caused by infection with the virus SARS-CoV-2 and specified as an infectious disease in accordance with Regulation 6 of, and the Schedule to, the Infectious Diseases Regulations 1981 ( S.I. No. 390 of 1981) or any variant of the disease so specified as an infectious disease in those Regulations;

‘European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’ means the Agency established under the provisions of Regulation (EC) No. 851/2004 1 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 establishing a European centre for disease prevention and control.

Affected areas orders

31B. (1) Subject to subsection (2), the Minister may, having regard to the matters specified in section 31A(2), by order declare an area or region in the State to be an area where there is known or thought to be sustained human transmission of Covid-19 or from which there is a high risk of importation of infection or contamination with Covid-19 by travel from that area (in this Act referred to as an ‘affected areas order’).

(2) When making an order under this section, the Minister shall have regard to the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of the Department of Health and shall consult with such Minister of the Government as the Minister considers appropriate having regard to the functions of that other Minister of the Government.”.

Annotations:

Modifications (not altering text):

C5

Application of Part extended from 10 November 2021 to 9 February 2022 by Resolution of Dáil Éireann: Debates Volume 1013 No. 3, 3 November 2021 - Extension of Part 3 of the Health (Preservation and Protection and other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Act 2020 : Motion, and by Resolution of Seanad Éireann: Debates Volume 279 No. 11, 3 November 2021, Health (Preservation and Protection and other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Act 2020 : Motion.

C6

Application of section extended from 9 November 2020 to 9 June 2021 by Resolution of Dáil Éireann: Debates Volume 999 No. 7, 22 October 2020, Health (Preservation and Protection and other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act) 2020 - Part 3: Motion, and by Resolution of Seanad Éireann: Debates Volume 272 No. 1, 22 October 2020, Health (Preservation and Protection and other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Act 2020 - Part 3: Motion.