President Signs Amendments Which Allows for Restrictions Until July 15

The President of Georgia Salome Zurabishvili has signed the amendments to the Law on Public Health and the Criminal Procedure Code, which allows the government to take restrictive measures in the country even without declaring a state of emergency.

"I, as a guarantor of the Constitution, am responsible for protecting fundamental human rights, including the right to health and life. After lifting the state of emergency, it became necessary to maintain certain restrictions in order to protect this right, so as not to violate other basic human rights.

"Under the amendments, this difficult balance is maintained. The amendments submitted to me today meet two main demands - Georgia will continue its democratic development and will maintain the results achieved in the fight against the pandemic. I will observe the implementation of these legislative changes in practice,” the President said while signing the amendments. 

Earlier yesterday, the Parliament supported the draft amendments with 81 votes. 

However, the changes were approved in the third reading differently from the initially submitted version. More specifically, the draft law did not stipulate that it would be possible to apply quarantine measures without declaring a state of emergency only temporarily and not indefinitely, including to restrict rights to free movement, economic activity, assembly, labor, etc.

Based on the approved amendments, it will be possible to take restrictive measures until July 15, 2020.

Starting today, May 23, the State of Emergency and curfew in Georgia has been lifted. In addition, restrictions on the presence of more than three people in cars have been lifted from today. The restriction remains in force only in relation to taxis.

However, certain restrictions still remain in force due to the pandemic. 

In particular, restrictions remain in place for clothing and footwear stores; on-site customer service in cafe-restaurants; public transport; operation of hotels, except in quarantine zones; functioning of malls and markets, except for the agrarian markets that are already operating; functioning of sports and cultural facilities and similar activities; part of the public services will continue to be implemented remotely. 

In addition, citizens will still have to wear face masks in closed areas and keep a 2-meter social distance to prevent the risk of spreading coronavirus. 

"Under the conditions when the virus has not been completely defeated, the government still has to take active measures.

“It is extremely important that certain regulations remain in place in the country so that the main value - our citizens' safety, life and health - is not endangered," the Advisor to the Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Chikovani, stated yesterday. 

By Ana Dumbadze 

Related Story: What Restrictions Will Remain after the End of State of Emergency

23 May 2020 10:23