Morocco has already used the law to declare and extend a nationwide lockdown, enforce the wearing of protective masks in public, and crack down on those who defy other state of emergency measures.
Rabat – The upper house in the Moroccan Parliament approved today Law 2.20.292 on Morocco’s state of emergency.
The Committee of the Interior, Territorial Collectivities, and Infrastructure at the House of Councillors (upper house) adopted Bill 23.20 approving the legislation enacting special provisions for the state of health emergency in Morocco and entailing the measures for its declaration.
The upper house approved Law 2.20.292 by majority vote with one abstention.
Presenting the law, Interior Minister Abdelouafi Laftit called upon Moroccan citizens and residents to observe the measures related to the emergency state to safeguard the country’s security.
Law 2.20.292 in Morocco’s COVID-19 response
The Ministry of Interior declared a state of emergency on March 19, and Morocco entered lockdown on March 20, limiting the mobility of citizens and residents. According to the legislative measure, only with exceptional movement permits signed by authorities can people go to work, buy essentials, or receive medical care.
Morocco also used the law to enforce a curfew for movement and business hours. Originally spanning 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., the curfew is currently running from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. for the holy month of Ramadan.
The state of emergency and corresponding bill detailing its implementation serve to stem the spread of COVID-19 in Morocco.
After groups of Moroccans rallied in several cities in defiance of the lockdown, the Moroccan government approved Law 2.20.292 on March 23 in order to take legal action against such violators and published the decree in an official bulletin the following day.
Since the state of emergency entered into force, police in Morocco have arrested 85,778 individuals who have violated its measures. Charges mainly include crowding in public, inciting citizens to gather, and not carrying a legitimate exceptional movement permit.
Those found guilty of violating the state of emergency and the orders of Moroccan authorities will receive a sentence ranging between one to three months in prison and have to pay a fine ranging between MAD 300 and 1,300 ($30 to $132).
Moroccan authorities have also used the bill to make the wearing of protective face masks mandatory in public spaces and in the workplace, starting April 7. King Mohammed VI instructed the government to provide protective masks to the public at an appropriate price (MAD 0.80 or $0.10) according to Article 3 of the same law.
In accordance with the text, the Moroccan government decided on April 18 to extend the country’s state of emergency, initially set to expire on April 20, for an additional month. It is now scheduled to continue until May 20.
Law 2.20.292 also permits the Moroccan government to take the necessary actions to mitigate the negative repercussions of the emergency state. Morocco’s government council used this permission to adopt Draft Bill 30.20 on April 30, setting measures to support the hard-hit tourism sector against the economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown.