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The official UK government site https://www.gov.uk/ does not always explain how particular laws and regulations came to be. In particular, it says:

In England, you must by law wear a face covering in the following settings:

  • (...) -Shops and Supermarkets as of 24 July 2020

My question is: what is the nature of the law which is referred to in the citation above, i.e. how this law came to be? Presumably via some sort of executive power of the UK government as there hasn't been a vote specifically on this in the parliament as far as I'm aware.

  • An interesting question! In my experience mainstream media websites never link to the legislation to which they refer (unless it is a specialist opinion article e.g. law blogger on the platform). You would think the gov.uk site would, though. I can find the regs for public transport legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/592/contents/made but nothing in relation to shops and supermarkets. I wonder if they exist yet. – Lag Jul 15 at 19:00
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    @Lag: the current pattern is for the regulations to be made and published only a day or two before coming into force, having been announced a few days before that. The place to check is the list of new statutory instruments at legislation.gov.uk/new/uksi – Steve Melnikoff Jul 16 at 8:10
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    @SteveMelnikoff and OP, this thread may be of interest twitter.com/TomRHickman/status/1286730230711844865 – Lag Jul 26 at 9:03
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    @Lag, thanks. It's not much consolation, but I'm happy to hear that some other people are also a bit suspicious about the relevant law-making process (to be completely honest, I wouldn'tbe surprised if laws were enacted this way in Poland or Hungary, but I'm honestly sad and dissapointed this is the way it's done in UK) – Łukasz Grabowski Jul 27 at 10:07
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These are executive powers of the Secretary of State for Health

They have that power through the Public Health (Control of Diseases) Act 1984 to issue regulations controlling a disease without a draft being laid before parliament. The emergency regulations will have immediate effect but will cease after 28 days unless approved by parliament (and the national assembly if they are to apply in Wales).

The present Secretary of State for Health and Social Care used the urgent procedure to implement the Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 in England. Since then, parliament has passed the Coronovirus Act 2020. Other laws relating to other countries in the UK have also been passed.

These acts devolve power on the Secretary of State to make rules such as face mask requirements without further parliamentary involvement.

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