Woman wearing a face mask. Illustrative photo via iStock / torwai

Czech government approves bill empowering police to issue fines for violating epidemic rules

The Czech government has approved a bill empowering police to fine people on the spot for violating measures introduced against the coronavirus epidemic

Prague, April 1 – The Czech government today approved a bill empowering the police to fine people on the spot for violating measures introduced against the coronavirus epidemic with up to 10,000 crowns, the Interior Ministry, which submitted the bill, has written in a press release.

Earlier today, the Central Crisis Staff headed by Interior Minister Jan Hamacek (Social Democrats, CSSD) proposed this to the government.

The bill must still be passed by both houses of Czech parliament. The government asked the two houses to debate the bill in a state of legislative emergency.

Hamacek said the police should be allowed to immediately fine people who are meeting in higher numbers in public space or who are in the street without having their mouth and nose covered. He said the police should check only places where there really is the risk of spreading the coronavirus infection.

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“We are in a situation when there are draconic sanctions up to millions of crowns in theory, if somebody violates the government regulations, but it is very problematic to enforce their payment in time,” Hamacek said.

All delicts must be dealt with in administrative proceedings by administrative bodies or sanitary offices, he said. On the contrary, fines imposed on the spot are very effective, he added.

Hamacek said a new law giving the power to penalise violation of crisis measures to the police would be a very strong legislative instrument that the police were lacking.

The first coronavirus infection was confirmed in the Czech Republic on March 1. The state of emergency has been effective in the country since March 12 and its declaration was followed by limitations to free movement.

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Police Presidium spokesman David Schon said the police made over 12,000 checks and reported 139 delicts to administrative bodies on Monday.

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