New Covid-19 law will keep emergency restrictions for longer, leak reveals

A man cycling through Amsterdam wearing a respirator-style medical mask
A man cycling through Amsterdam wearing a respirator-style medical mask. March 2020jaalbersDepositPhotosDeposit Photos

A number of rules in place to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the Netherlands will likely be set into stone, according to a preliminary draft proposal leaked out to RTL Nieuws on Saturday, clearing the way for emergency ordinance laws to come into force for a longer duration of time. The law also aims to end confusion about the definition of a household, which had made it possible for students to be fined even while inside their own student housing.

Maintaining a social distance of 1.5 meters between people and wearing face masks in certain public spaces are two of the major laws that will remain in force in the country, according to the leak. It also gives the health minister the power to extend the area where people would be mandated to wear personal protective equipment. The rules were originally passed as part of an emergency ordinance package by the cabinet in March in response to surging Covid-19 infections across the Netherlands.

Their extension, which would reportedly be temporary, is designed to avoid the legislative confusion that comes with having emergency laws in place for a long period of time, according to the news service.

Also included in the new preliminary draft proposal is said to be an extension of the legal definition of the term 'household'. In effect, according to the document, places such as campsites, student houses and migrant worker homes could soon also be considered households by Dutch law.

In order for the preliminary draft proposal to make its way into law, it would need first to receive a green light by the Council of State, and pass through a debate session in the houses of parliament. According RTL Nieuws, Minister of Health Hugo De Jonge wants the law to take effect as soon as July 1.

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