Parliament votes for new COVID law

MPs, on Thursday, voted on the new Covid law that is set to enter into force on 26 December until 10 January.

During an almost 4-hour long debate, MPs discussed the new covid-19 restrictions that are supposed to enter into force after Christmas in order to slow down the spread of the virus in the grand duchy over the holiday season.

At the end of the session, law 7739 was voted into force with 52 votes in favour. The biggest opposition party, the CSV, although once again pointing out that measures should have been taken earlier and urging the government to introduce a tracing app, voted in favour of the new law, alongside the DP, LSAP and Déi Gréng government parties. Opposition parties ADR, déi Lenk and Piratepartei voted against the measures.

The CSV asked for a separate vote on article 1 of the new bill, which sees a change of the start of the nightly curfew from 11pm to 9pm. The government parties still carried the vote by 31 to 29.

Accordingly, the new restrictions voted into law on Thursday include:

  • a curfew between 9pm and 6am
    closure of all non-essential businesses
    closure of all sports infrastructures and cultural venues, including museums
    closure of crèches and daycare services as of Monday 28 December
    a ban on alcohol consumption in public spaces
    an extension of the school holiday and homeschooling for the week starting on 4 January
    higher fines for non-adherence to the rules, up from €145 to €300
    The new law also foresees parents being given the right to take advantage of leave for family reasons during the week of distanced learning at the beginning of January.

Additionally, the existing measures, including the closure of all bars, restaurants and cafes until 15 January as well as the maximum of 2 visitors per household will remain in place.

While announcing the new measures during a press conference on Monday, prime minister Xavier Bettel (DP) emphasised that the new restrictions in combination with the existing ones would not constitute “a hard lockdown” as Luxembourg residents would still be able to leave their houses.

Government plans to reevaluate the situation at the beginning of January to see whether or not some restrictions can be lifted or will have to be extended.

Before the debate in parliament, one article of law 7739 was already removed on Wednesday, after it had sparked public criticism for calling on all civil servants to report violations of isolation or quarantine to the public prosecutor’s office.