Albania Adopts Punitive Fines for Breaching Coronavirus Restrictions

A patient being sent to the Shefqet Ndroqi Hospital for Lung Diseases in Tirana on Sunday. Photo: Malton Dibra/LSA

Prime Minister Edi Rama said that anyone who complains about the heavy fines should understand that the penalties are "not [meant] to collect money for the state, but to protect the people from violations that threaten their health in this war situation".

Social, cultural or political gatherings, either in enclosed or open-air spaces, are banned, and violators can be fined up to 5 million lek (40,000 euros).

"Entities or individuals who organise public or non-public activities, such as sporting or cultural ones or conferences, or mass gatherings in enclosed or open-air spaces, such as concerts, gatherings or public hearings, are to be penalised 5 million leks," the law says.

Television stations are banned from having more than two people on their talk shows in the same room and will be fined 1 million leks (8,300 euros) for any violations.

The legislation also envisages fines for traders in food and medicines if for unacceptable price rises, and three-year bans for car drivers if they breach restrictions on movement.

Private hospitals that refuse to offer their capacities when required can be fined by up to 5 million leks (40,000 euros).

The highest fines, up to 10 million leks (83,000 euros), can be imposed on entities that trade in food or medicine without respecting safety rules designed to combat infections.

All fines will be automatically executable, which means they will be collected immediately, whether or not the suspect mounts a court challenge. Courts are notoriously slow in Albania and challenging such fine could take years.

The legislation, called a normative act, is a kind of emergency law...

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