The rules are known from the spring – and, according to Kurz, “the only reliable means” to calm the corona situation. The opposition is raging, but constitutional experts give the green light.
It was a long, restless night for everyone involved: the draft for the regulation of the new lockdown was not finished until well after midnight. Until shortly before the press conference on Saturday afternoon, negotiations were still taking place and the text was fine-tuned.
The “lockdown light” that was imposed on November 3rd was obviously not enough to get the corona situation under control – on the contrary: it got worse. On Saturday 7,063 new infections were registered, but the seven-day incidence is more meaningful – and here Austria is around 550. “The target value is actually 50. So we are more than ten times as high as it would be good,” declared Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP), who is convinced: “If we don’t react massively now, there is a risk that our health system will be overloaded.”
“Means that works”
A lockdown is the only means “that we reliably know that it works,” he said. Therefore, the rules are essentially very similar to those in spring: After the gastro, from Tuesday the trade will also close down to the basic supply, schools and universities will be switched to distance learning, you can only go out of the house for certain reasons (see above) .
This is where the well-known “four exceptions” come into play – and again the government wants more than what is legally stipulated: “Don’t meet anyone! Every social contact is one too many! ”Said Chancellor Kurz. You should only spend your free time with those people you live with. Those who live alone should define a person with whom one can stay in personal contact.
In the text of the regulation, of course, this is formulated more generously – it says nothing of a “one-person rule”. When asked, the Chancellor said that he was aware that the police could not control everything. He therefore asks for “cohesion”, because: “This way we can save Christmas and spend it with caution, but dignified and together.” . be valid.
“On solid ground”
But are these massive cuts really justified? Is all this covered by law? Constitutional lawyer Heinz Mayer says: “Yes.” The health system is obviously at the edge of its capacity – “therefore the restrictions are permissible”. In this case, the public good is more important than personal freedom of movement.
One more thing brings him certainty that is now different than in spring: “At that time, the lockdown was imposed on the basis of forecasts – you only saw in neighboring countries that things could get tight. Now that’s almost a reality for us. The regulation is therefore on solid ground. “
Mayer says there is nothing wrong with the quality of the legal text (this time). The exceptions to the curfew are formulated in great detail – even if individual blurring is likely to remain. Incidentally, the constitutional expert is on the legal committee that advises the health minister.
Neos check legal issues
Are you okay? Not at all. The opposition raged on Saturday. “This government has failed,” said Neos boss Beate Meinl-Reisinger. The Kurz cabinet had “only one job” in the past few months: preventing a second lockdown. Other countries have shown that this is possible. She is particularly critical of the school closings – the Neos will examine legal action because parents have already turned to them.
SPÖ boss Pamela Rendi-Wagner also sees the new lockdown as “an admission of guilt for the government’s total failure in corona management”. FPÖ club boss Herbert Kickl puts it more solidly: “Kurz, Kogler, Anschober and Nehammer are trying to bury our republic.”
Knowing that the topic is polarizing, in addition to Chancellor Kurz, Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler, Minister of Health Rudolf Anschober and Minister of the Interior Karl Nehammer showed their understanding during the presentation of the rules. “We are aware that this is an imposition,” said Kogler. “But we get something in return. You can save lives with your behavior. ”Similar to Nehammer:“ Yes, everyone tears, but it is necessary. ”And Anschober appealed:“ It is our only, our last chance to prevent a collapse in the hospitals. ”