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Government Messaging on Exercising during Lockdown - A Rule of Law Analysis

Katie Lines

Executive Summary

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020 currently require every person who lives in England to stay at home, unless they have a reasonable excuse for being outside the place where they are living. The Regulations specify that taking exercise outdoors is a reasonable excuse, with some restrictions.

The Government has issued guidance containing further restrictions on exercising outdoors, one of which is that people should not travel outside their local area when exercising. Government messaging has repeatedly portrayed this guidance as being law. Such blurring of the line between law and guidance is incompatible with the Rule of Law, and the Government must ensure that it clearly distinguishes between law and guidance in future messaging.

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