Yesterday, the Cabinet announced a package of measures against the spread of the coronavirus, the curfew of which is the most striking: since the Second World War, the measure has not been used. The proposal had only to be adopted by the House of Representatives, which is critical.
However, the curfew comes from Saturday, only half an hour later: a majority of the Chamber supported D66‘s proposal that the rule should not be applied until 9 p.m. The end time of 4:30 will remain as it is.
Curfew raises many questions, including among our readers and followers on social media. The most important questions and answers:
To whom are there exceptions?
You can only go outside if necessary, as stated on the website of the National Government with all measures. For people who have to take the streets of their employer, an exception has been made to curfew. They must carry an Employers’ Statement of Curfew, stating that their work outside the home is essential to the company. The employer decides whether or not this is necessary, the government is not required for an assessment.
Such an employer‘s statement does not need to be printed out, but can also be displayed digitally from a tablet or smartphone.
Also to walk the dog you can still be outside on your own after 21.00 hours. The same applies to travel to and from abroad, to go to a funeral or to help a person or animal in need of help. Exams in higher education were equally doubtful, but they are now also covered by the exceptions.
Curfew is once again a spicy message, especially for people who already had few social contacts:
Finally, after 21:00, you can also take the streets if you have been summoned to do so by a judge or prosecutor. You have to be able to prove this. And also for guests in a live TV show, exceptions are made.
The full list of exceptions can be found here. In some cases, you need to have a completed ‘own declaration‘ with you. When walking the dog or for a calamity do not have to.
Can I still go to the store, or have food delivered?
Supermarkets and pick-up locations of catering establishments must close the doors around 20.15 hrs. Meal deliverers are allowed to bring food around, provided they can show a statement from their employer.
What punishment is there for offense, and is it enforced?
If you do go out on the streets without a valid reason, the police can fine you 95 euros. This is also immediately maintained, said Prime Minister Rutte yesterday at the press conference. So there is no tolerance policy in the first few days. If you create an employer’s statement yourself, Rutte warned, it‘s seen as fraud. There’s a higher penalty on that.
Isn‘t such a curfew contrary to the Constitution?
Such a right is not at all in our constitution, says Professor of State and Administrative Law Wim Voermans. It is stated in the 1966 ‘International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights‘, of which the Netherlands is one of the signatories. Article 12 of this Treaty emphasises the ‘right to freedom of movement and freedom of establishment‘.
But, says Voermans, “the IVBPR Convention also states that it can be restricted, for example, to protect public order or public health. If you only have a good story, and it’s proportional, then you can.”
For the far-reaching means of national curfew, the Cabinet uses not the Corona Laws so far used, but the powers of the ‘Exceptional Powers Civil Authorities Act 1996, which is intended for emergencies like this. Voermans says that law has never been used, but its predecessor has. “In 1995, there were major floods in the Netherlands, and then some people with the same kind of law were forced to stay in their homes, and others were forced to evacuate.”
What happens to homeless people later?
In many cities, the night shelter opens earlier to give homeless and homeless people the opportunity to enter. If they don’t, they won‘t be fined. They do not need to have their own statement, but they will “be referred to a reception address if possible.”
Why are so many people still allowed to go to work?
Companies are currently not legally compelled to let their employees work from home, even if that was practically possible. The Labour Inspectorate cannot therefore occur if workers feel unnecessarily forced to go to the office. Prime Minister Rutte doesn’t want to do that either. As a government, he doesn‘t want to decide which job can be done at home, and which one can’t.
Thus, it remains for the time being for the employer to decide where the employees should do their job. Trade union FNV now advocates alegal right to work from home, just like the political parties D66 and GroenLinks. More about this you can read in this article.