0684-Corona virus

Mayors are puzzled about how to prevent people from becoming infected with the corona virus at home. 342 cases were identified today, nearly 100 more than yesterday. Many infections take place behind the front door: exactly the place where mayors cannot maintain. “That the corona law does not give us that possibility is a mistake.”
A somewhat mysterious sentence was that Nijmegen mayor Hubert Bruls dropped out during the press conference of the Security Council on Wednesday. It was about private infections. “We cannot intervene at home. We will continue to investigate whether there is something we can do about it.”
Bruls stood there as chairman of the deliberation, in which the 25 Dutch security regions are gathered, and thus actually spoke on behalf of the law enforcement officers of our country. Did he advocate surveillance and enforcement behind the front door here? In an explanation, Bruls also stated that new rules can “infringe on people’s freedom.”
A day later, he says – via WhatsApp – not exactly what he means. In his view, should parties in people’s homes be banned or ended? Bruls repeats that things have to be “sorted out”. In conversation with Radio 1, he reports that fundamental rights in the Netherlands are “very rightly” protected, and that they should not be experimented with. “But my greatest concern is with infections in the private sphere. There is a risk that because things go wrong more often, you will have to take stricter measures again in public.”

Shared care
With this last observation, Bruls expresses a very widely shared concern among the mayors present at the Security Council, according to a tour of this newspaper. On the one hand, they are required to control the distribution of corona within their regions. On the other hand, they also know the figures from RIVM. This shows that by far the most infections (54.5 percent) occur at home, followed by the further family circle (19 percent). And exactly there they cannot do much. For comparison: in the catering industry, a place where enforcers can play a role, according to the source and contact research, only 4.8 percent of recent infections take place. This is a matter of concern, especially now that the number of infections is increasing. On Thursday, a higher number of infections was announced again: 342. That was almost 100 more than Wednesday. Liesbeth Spies, Mayor of Alphen aan den Rijn: ,,We now see that the biggest fires arise in the home situation, but we also know that you do not have any perseverance there (intervening or making decisions in the event of deadlocks or stagnation in decision-making or work processes, red. .). Then it is not so strange that you think whether you can achieve more behind that front door, without immediately entering the constitutionally guaranteed autonomy of privacy.”

Corona law
The question is what you can do. This spring, the proposal for the corona law of Minister De Jonge was already considerably amended, after much criticism was raised about the possibilities that the police would have to check in people’s homes. “The safe distance standard and other (behavioral) rules do not apply to situations in which house law is at stake,” the legal text now states. As a result, mayors must continue to enforce with their hands behind their backs, especially in the places where things most often go wrong. That is “a mistake”, says Mark Boumans, Mayor of Doetinchem. ,, I regularly walk through the city, and then you just see and hear that more and more parties are being held. And I’m pretty sure that at 90 percent, the corona rules are not followed. But there is nothing we can do. Yes, we can ring the doorbell. But if we are not let in, we are powerless.”
According to Boumans, there should be more administrative options. “For example, the right to look inside people or to be able to end a party. Normally I’m hesitant about things like that, but now you just see it go wrong. The alternative is that we all have to enter an intelligent lockdown again. I don’t think anyone wants that. Then take specific action.”
An important condition for Boumans is that there will first be a public campaign, in which people are once again made aware of the dangers of meetings at home. Theo Weterings, Mayor of Tilburg, is also on that line. He believes that alternatives to enforcement should be sought. “I don’t see it happening anytime soon that we, as mayors, are going to tamper with people’s fundamental rights. So we have to think about how we can influence the situation in people’s homes. ”

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