Saying it was essential to ensure compliance with hygiene rules as restrictive measures are relaxed, Cabinet on Friday approved bills introducing tougher penalties for violation of the quarantine decree which it is sending to the House of Representatives as a matter of urgency.
Justice Minister Yiorgos Savvides said that the bill raises the penalties both as regards the quarantine law and the out of court fine imposed on business managers and owners who violate decrees and regulations issued under the quarantine law.
The fines will rise for repeat offences. The bill also allows the issue of a court order to close down a business for non-compliance.
- Increase in the penalty for violating the quarantine law to up to one year in prison and /or fine not exceeding €50,000. The current penalty is up to six months in jail and/or fine of €3,000,
2. The out of court fine of €300 remains in force and the draft legislation introduces the possibility of a higher out of court fine for business managers or owners for violations of the regulations or decrees issued under the quarantine law. In the event of a first violation, the out of court fine will be €2,000, in the event of a second violation €4,000 and for a third €8,000. If there is a fourth violation, the business manager or owner can be prosecuted. If a decision is taken to prosecute, either after the third time or earlier if this is deemed necessary, the prosecution can submit an ex parte application to the court for a temporary order suspending the operation of the business or economic activity at any premise or place.
The second bill amends table IV for the out of court fines law so as to be in line with the bill amending the quarantine law.
The amendments are seen as essential in view of the gradual relaxation of the restrictive measures and the need for strict compliance with hygiene protocols by businesses so as to protect public health, the minister said.
The bills will be sent to the House immediately to be examined as urgent.