BUCHAREST – Illegal restrictions?

While judges confirmed that the government’s ‘state of alert’, set to begin on Friday (15 May), can only be enforced by parliament, by sending the draft law to parliament too late, the government appears to have now botched the transition from the ‘state of emergency’ to the ‘state of alert’ – it cannot enter into force earlier than Monday (18 May), despite the state of emergency having already ended on Thursday (14 May). To avoid a complete removal of restrictions, the National Committee for Emergency Situations declared a ‘state of alert’, for the first time ever in Romania.

The committee’s move, however, could be challenged as the Constitutional Court ruled earlier this week that a ‘state of alert’, which restricts some human rights, may only be adopted by the parliament by law, and not by government decree.

Parliament debated and adopted the law on Wednesday (13 May), but, due to procedural reasons, the bill cannot come into force before Monday (18 May).

The law includes some limitations, but is more relaxed than what the government proposed in the initial draft.

The government stated it would adopt rules that do not limit human rights, but still include some kind of social distancing measures. 

However, the final draft, revealed late Thursday, just minutes before the end of the state of emergency, keeps some of the restrictions in place over the past two weeks, such as the obligation to quarantine or self-isolate for people arriving in Romania.

People may now move freely within their localities and leave towns for outdoor activities, such as cycling, hiking, fishing or hunting. Hotels and malls with an area lower than 15,000 square metres can open but restaurants, cafes, including with terraces will remain closed with the exception of drive-ins or takeaways.

Face masks will also have to be worn inside, including in commercial areas, at the office or when using public transport.

Public events, such as concerts or protests, indoor sports or cultural activities remain forbidden. (EURACTIV.ro)

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