Impact | Negative
Civicus Rating | Narrowed
As the number of COVID-19 cases grows throughout the country, the government decided to prohibit via decree social and family gatherings in private homes for two weeks, with penalties for non-compliance ranging from 15 days to two years in prison. The decree generated criticism from representatives of the political opposition and civil society about its timeliness and proportionality, almost 5 months after the start of the mandatory social isolation measures. Its constitutionality was also questioned by different experts who claim that the decree violates the right to privacy and regulates criminal matters, which is expressly prohibited by the National Constitution even in circumstances of necessity and urgency. The decree assimilates the breach of the prohibition to the crime against public health, that is, the one committed by violating the measures ordered by the public authority for the prevention of an epidemic, with penalties of up to two years in prison. Although the decree must undergo legislative control, they also questioned why the measure was approved by executive means and not by the Legislative Branch.