Saturday 19 September 2020

Covid-19 fine is likely to be cut to €99 in new legislation to tackle the virus

Photo: Alex Nicholls-Lee

MPs from three of the four coalition parties want the fine issued to people who accidentally fail to keep 1.5 metres from others to be cut from €390 to €99 – which means they would no longer end up with a criminal record.

The fine is being anchored in law in new legislation to replace the emergency powers that officials are currently using to implement coronavirus-related rules.

Now VVD, D66 and ChristenUnie MPs say the amount must be lowered to protect people who do not deliberately infringe the regulations. Having a criminal record can mean you are unable to get a certificate of good behaviour (VOG), which can have an impact on finding a job.

Some 15,500 people were fined for breaking the coronavirus rules up to the beginning of July, mainly for breaking the social distance requirement. However, pressure has been mounting for change, particularly since justice minister Ferd Grapperhaus was caught standing too close to guests at his recent wedding.

MPs are also concerned that the new legislation, which gives ministers wide powers to tackle coronavirus, will be in force for six months. This, they say, is too long and they are also now expected to try to amend this to three.

‘The measures should not last longer than strictly necessary,’ said ChristenUnie MP Stieneke van der Graaf. ‘So the law should include a clause which requires the minister to cancel the legislation when it is no longer essential.’

The legislation should have come into force in July but is now unlikely to clear both houses of parliament until November.

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