Coronavirus: The State of Health Emergency Adopted, Here is What will Change for Us

General News
The state of health emergency will make it possible to take general measures to put in brackets part of our rules and our laws

The Parliament adopted this Sunday the bill establishing a state of health emergency. Restrictive measures, requisitions, duration … We take stock of what it provides for.

The state of health emergency was declared this Sunday 22nd March 2020. After validation by the National Assembly then by the Senate, this emergency bill to face the epidemic of Covid-19 was definitively adopted by the joint committee. 

Three main measures are included in this bill: 

  • the establishment of a state of health emergency system;
  • the adoption of economic emergency measures and of adaptation to the fight against the epidemic.
  • The organization of the postponement of the second round of municipal, community elections, councilors from Paris and metropolitan councillors from Lyon.

Read also: Coronavirus: 674 dead, 16,018 confirmed cases… update on the situation in France

What is a state of health emergency?

The state of health emergency is a device which is inspired by the law of April 3, 1955, relating to the state of emergency, without the part “searches” and “measures restricting liberty”, as for the state emergency decreed after the 2015 attacks.

The bill before the Assembly recalls that a state of emergency can be declared ” in the event of a health disaster endangering, by its nature and gravity, the health of the population”.

  • Put in brackets part of our rules and laws

The state of health emergency allows, by prescription, to take general measures to put in brackets part of our rules and our laws , the time of the health crisis caused by the epidemic of coronavirus: limitation of our movements, quarantine of people likely to be affected, closure of places open to the public, etc.

  • Two months of health emergency

The state of health emergency is detailed in Title II of the bill.  The Article 5a of the bill thus provides that, for a period of twelve days the original, it was finally declared ” for a period of two months from the entry into force of this Act.” 

Its extension beyond could only be authorized by law. This does not mean that the confinement will last as long.

Read also: Coronavirus: towards the establishment of a “state of health emergency” in France

  • Restrictive measures

According to the text, the measures may “limit the freedom to come and go, the freedom to conduct business and the freedom of assembly”.

In fact, this is already the case since the restrictive measures implemented since the establishment of containment, Tuesday 17th March, at noon.

Failure to comply with confinement measures will be more severely punished: the fine of 135 euros will drop to 1500 euros for repeat offenders. It will become a crime (3750 euros fine and six months in prison) if the person is fined more than three times within 30 days.

Read also: Non-compliance with confinement: up to six months in prison and 3750 euros fine

  • Possible requisitions of taxis, hotels, masks …

As part of the state of health emergency, the executive can order requisitions for ” all goods and services necessary to fight the epidemic of covid-19 “.

Requisition of taxis for the transport of nursing staff, hotels for their accommodation, requisition of masks … are thus regulated by law.

The text provides that compensation, governed by the defence code.

  • Price control

Among the new measures provided for in the text is the temporary price control ” of certain products made necessary to prevent or correct the tensions noted on the market”.

  • Availability of medicines

Another new measure allowing ” up to providing medicines to patients appropriate for the eradication of the epidemic.” In this regard, the text plans to “take all measures” to get there.

All these measures ” are strictly proportionate to the health risks incurred and appropriate to the circumstances”. It will be ended “without delay when they are no longer needed,” says the bill.

Support for the economy

  • Reinforcement of the use of partial activity

The text also allows the government to take action to support the economy. The ban on dismissals does not appear there, only the “limit on breaches of employment contracts […] by facilitating and strengthening the use of partial activity”.

  • A week of paid vacation may be imposed

The text also provides for allowing any employer to impose or modify the dates for taking part of the paid holidays, “within the limit of six working days”.

  • Review weekly hours of work

Another measure is the possibility of reviewing working hours, weekly or Sunday rest. What denounces part of the left, worried about these changes to the Labour Code.

Postponement of municipal elections

The third major measure of the bill concerns the postponement of the second round of municipal elections. They will be postponed “no later than June 2020” . Edouard Philippe announced that the installation of the municipal councils elected in the first round is postponed to a later date.

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