Man wearing protective face mask on the streets of Prague via iStock / Fabiano Waewell

Czech Senate enables bill allowing police to issue on-the-spot fines for anti-coronavirus violations

The Czech Senate has enabled a bill under which police can impose up to 10,000-crown fines on the spot to people violating anti-coronavirus measures

Prague, April 17 (CTK) – The Senate, the upper house of Czech parliament, enabled today the passage of the bill under which the Czech police can impose up to 10,000-crown fines on the spot on the people violating anti-coronavirus measures.

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However, police officers can get this power in May only if the restrictions are still valid then.

Senators neither approved the bill, nor rejected it nor returned it to the Chamber of Deputies with proposed changes.

Consequently, the bill will be submitted to President Milos Zeman for signature, but only after the 30-day constitutional deadline for the Senate to debate bills passes, that is on May 9. The current state of emergency over the coronavirus epidemic was prolonged until April 30 so far.

The Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Czech parliament, passed the government bill by a quite narrow majority on April 8.

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Under the legislation, police officers can fine people, for instance, for violating the restricted free movement and not wearing face masks or other mouth and nose covers in public, which is obligatory since March 19.

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Interior Minister and Central Crisis Staff (UKS) head Jan Hamacek (Social Democrats, CSSD) justified the legislation, saying a fine would replace lengthy administrative proceedings.

Besides, the police will still solve most such minor offences by a reprimand as to date. However, they need a more efficient tool for more serious cases, he added.

Critics of the bill, mainly from the opposition Civic Democrats (ODS) and Pirates, pointed out that the government and Health Ministry measures were implemented day by day and their interpretation was often unclear.

Only ten of the 37 senators present voted for the bill today, while 18 were against it, so two more votes were needed for the upper house to reject the draft legislation.

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