Thursday 29 October 2020

Ministers agree amendments to coronavirus law, cutting fines to €95

The lower house of parliament. Photo: Dutch News

Ministers have made enough concessions to gather majority support for their emergency coronavirus legislation which is supposed to anchor social distancing and other regulations in law.

Among the amendments made to the first draft of the legislation, which was heavily criticised inside and outside parliament, is a decision to cut the lifespan of the law to three months, broadcaster NOS reported.

As expected, ministers have also agreed to cut the fine for breaking the coronavirus social distancing and other rules to €95, which means people who do infringe the law will no longer face a criminal record.

The maximum prison term for breaking the rules on group gatherings and keeping 1.5 metres had also been cut from one month to two weeks. In addition, ministers have  dropped the option to impose a national ban on visits to nursing homes, NOS said.

In an effort to ensure parliament still has some semblance of control, MPs will also be able to make an objection to any new measures the cabinet wishes to bring in within one week, and ministers will only be able to set this to one side in an emergency situation.

The amendments mean there is now majority support for the law in both houses of parliament, with Labour, GroenLinks, the SGP and 50Plus agreeing to back the measure in the senate, where the coalition government does not have a majority.

The first debate on the legislation will take place next week.

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