Spain to Reimburse All Citizens Fined for Caught Ignoring the Virus Maoist Lockdown of 2020
1.1 million fines were levied in 2020, court ruled the government had no right to collect them
The government will reimburse hundreds of thousands of residents who were fined for violating the rules of last year’s Covid-19 lockdown amid a surge of infections.
The measure, announced Friday by the ministry of territorial affairs, is set to benefit those who paid about 1.1 million fines in the spring of 2020. At the time, Spain found itself on the front line of the pandemic and imposed one of Europe’s toughest lockdowns, including on children, who were kept inside, unable to exercise or even go on errands with their parents.
The decision comes after Spain’s Constitutional Court ruled in July that the government had overstepped its powers and violated the rights of citizens to freedom of movement when it decreed a state of emergency in March 2020.
Although not all those who were penalized paid the fines, the government estimated in July that it had collected about 115 million euros during Spain’s initial state of emergency, which lasted three months.
In its ruling, the court’s panel did not condemn the government for forcing people to stay at home to stop the spread of the coronavirus, but the judges struck down the government’s interpretation of its right to decree a state of emergency as well as some specific measures, including stopping people from leaving their official residences to spend the lockdown in a second home.
The ruling followed a complaint filed by Spain’s far-right opposition party, Vox. Spain’s constitutional court must still issue a final ruling over the legality of the country’s second state of emergency, which was intended to contain another spike in Covid-19 cases and ran from November 2020 to May 2021.
Source: The New York Times