The fine for violating the 1.5 meter rule is likely to be 99 euros instead of the current 390 euros. Coalition parties VVD, D66 and ChristenUnie want this to be laid down in the new Corona Act. Because of the lower amount, offenders will not receive a note on their criminal record.
With a criminal record, it may be that you no longer receive a Certificate of Good Behaviour (Verklaring Omtrent Gedrag, VOG) just like that, which makes it difficult to get some jobs. Last week it already became clear that the Chamber found this an unreasonable punishment for people who are too close to each other without intent.
The amendment says: if you put a somewhat smaller fine on the violation of the 1.5 meter, you have solved the problem of that VOG right away, says D66 Member of Parliament Maarten Groothuizen. The proposal also states that the law should be stricter for companies. For a large company that has an interest in ignoring the rules, 99 euros may be a bit of an odd amount
Even if the amount of the fine is adjusted, ChristenUnie and D66 still do not find the corona law good enough to agree with. They think the law will remain in force too long and that the House of Representatives has too little to say about it.
Act replaces emergency measures
Since the beginning of the corona crisis, the Cabinet has been restricting freedoms with emergency ordinances. Think of the ban on visiting nursing homes, the obligation to keep your distance and the fines if you violate measures. The corona law is intended to replace those emergency measures that citizens and representatives of the people have nothing to say about.
But the law is encountering strong resistance among the population, among legal scholars, in the House of Representatives and within the coalition. Last week, the House asked some 600 written questions. That says something about the weight of this law, says Stieneke van der Graaf of the Christian Union. It’s too early to say whether the law will make it, but at the moment it’s not good enough. There really are still some adjustments to be made.
Responsible Minister Hugo de Jonge wanted the law to come into effect on 1 July. But a first version was withdrawn after criticism, especially about the possibility for the police to check behind front doors whether people keep a distance of 1.5 meters.
Law in force for three months
But MPs, including members of the coalition, also have major objections about the duration of the law. That is why the coalition parties propose to shorten the duration from six to three months.
The measures may not last longer than strictly necessary, says Van der Graaf. So we must include in the law an instruction to the minister that he will immediately scale down the measures as soon as they are no longer necessary.
A large part of the House still feels that the Minister of Health has far too much power in the new law. With the law, he can impose so-called ministerial regulations without the Chamber’s consent, such as, for example, closing markets. We would like the law to state more clearly that heavy measures are only allowed if there is really no other option, says SGP leader Kees van der Staaij. In the event of drastic decisions, the Lower House must have the last word
In the meantime, the question is whether it is not a bit late for an emergency law. It seems that the law will certainly not be passed by the Second and First Houses before 1 November. Van der Staaij: When the emergency ordinance just came into force, it was logical to have additional legislation. As far as I’m concerned, the momentum for this law has, in a certain sense, expired somewhat.