According to business organisation Sakeliga, government’s proposed regulations are a danger to public health, economic survival, and social stability. The small degree of regulatory relief announced is welcome but completely insufficient. What is urgently needed is a transparent phasing out of lockdown, not an expansion of a complex new legal framework that might now potentially remain in place for months.
It would be a mistake to call this approach “risk-adjusted”. The policies focus on regulating sectors and products – and disregard the actual risks involved. Everything is illegal by default, unless a Minister gives permission, or hosts a press conference – and, even if that is the case, you happen to be aware of that fact.”
The previous phase of the lockdown – which differs only modestly from this one – illustrated this point vividly: a truly risk-adjusted approach would entail identifying the medical risks and regulating with an eye towards reducing them. This kind of approach would be easier to communicate, be less confusing and would be far easier to implement. Government should have learnt from the confusion brought about by the current regulations. To carry on with this process – and, to make matters worse, to draft five distinct sets of regulations – would necessarily mean that even citizens acting with the best intentions will violate the regulations, whether due to emergencies or due to ignorance.
Government’s strategy is out of touch with the Constitution, international law and with best practices overseas. States of disaster should be implemented responsibly and not through incomprehensible, arbitrary and unreasonable rules which may be changed at a moment’s notice. No reasonable person can be expected to stay abreast of what might be legal on a given day – and what is not.
There’s a right way to manage this crisis – to protect the economy and save lives. This is not it.