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a complex equation for the government

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Yasmina Kattou, edited by Romain Rouillard
06:23, December 06, 2022

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While the Covid epidemic is on the rise again, the government is in full reflection on whether or not to return the mandatory mask in transport. Nevertheless, the executive finds itself weakened by the lifting of the state of health emergency which allowed it to more easily impose coercive measures.

From highly recommended to mandatory, there is only one step that the government is reluctant to take. While 1,051 new people on average are hospitalized every day for a Covid-19 infection, the executive wonders about a potential return of the mask in transport. If the Minister of Health, François Braun, does not hide his reluctance to reinstate this coercive measure, abandoned since May 16, he also declared that his hand “would not tremble” if it had to be used again.

The vote of a new law, necessary

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However, in reality, it is impossible for the government to make such a decision with the snap of a finger. The Covars, successor to the Scientific Council, must give its opinion on the return of the obligation to wear a mask this week, or at the beginning of next week. A long-awaited opinion by the executive as hospitalizations for Covid-19 increased by 28% in seven days.

However, the lifting of the state of health emergency last July complicates the situation. Without this exceptional measure, it is much more difficult for the government to limit our movements, to close certain establishments or to impose the wearing of a mask. Only the vote of a new law can allow it. However, the executive does not have a sufficiently comfortable majority in the Assembly to have such a text adopted.

The Council of State could oppose it

To escape the vote of the deputies, a decree can nevertheless be published but the Council of State could completely oppose it. “If the Prime Minister has adopted a decree, the risk is that a user or a citizen will refer the decree to the Council of State to obtain its cancellation. And the Council of State could give him reason if he considers that the Prime Minister does not have this power. I am not sure that currently we are in a situation of exceptional circumstances which would allow such an extension of the powers of the Prime Minister”, estimates Serge Slama, professor of public law at the University of Grenoble -Alps.

The Council of State could also authorize the obligation of the mask but in a non-generalized way. It would then be limited to certain transports and/or certain regions.

Source: Europe1

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