Curfew was lifted for a few hours in the Netherlands


Since January the 23th, there is a curfew(avondklok, "evening clock" in Dutch) in the Netherlands from 21:00 to 04:30. You may not be outside unless you have a good reason.rijksoverheid

The first night was mostly quiet, but the second, third, and fourth night there were riots. I was quite shocked by this, but then it turned quiet again. I also wrote an article about it but I never finished it.

Yesterday morning, the curfew came abruptly to an end: the court in The Hague ruled that the curfew needed to be stopped immediately.

Forgive me for the below section, I try my best to interpret and translate it correctly, but I am not someone who knows a lot of laws nor am I a journalist.

The case ruled not persé about the curfew itself, but about the implementation in the law. It was done as an emergency law, and the law which allows for this rules that it can be only done in "super" emergencies, when there's no time for debate, such as a dyke that breaks. However, before the curfew there was a debate in the house of representatives about it, implying that there could be no case of a super emergency, therefore, the curfew was unlawful and needed to be suspended immediately, the voorzieningsrechter ruled.rechtspraak

Politicians in The Hague were surprised by this. I consider this a blunder, when you have such an impactful measure you better make sure you have it well anchored in law. On February the 3rd, the Raad van State sort of warned the cabinet earlier that the law they used under these circumstances was not waterproof.Raad van State Did I mention there are house of representative elections in a month?

At 16:00, the state went into appeal, via something called a spoedàppel. The state quickly asked to suspend the decision earlier that day until appeal was finished.rechtspraak stichting"virus truth"), the covid-skeptical foundation who filed the lawsuit, soon objected the judges. However this was denied.NOS

Around 19:00 I turned on my television to follow the case. I saw the state's attorney, he said something like "I am going to go through these points fairly quickly, I also going to skip some stuff, and give it to the court clerk later on". You could feel a sense of urgency, as the evening clock normally would go into function at 21:00, and that may or may not go into effect depending on what the court later rules. The case is therefore of significant importance, I think. Later, prof. van Dissel, head of the CDC(or something like that) entered the court, to which the judge(actually the president/head of the 3 judges, but just going to call her "the judge" from now on) says something like "yeah I am not going to swear you in as an expert or something, just tell us all the stuff, keep it simple if possible". He explains something about why he thinks it's important that the curfew remains, about models, R0, infections and such. Later viruswaarheid replied and everything got a little chaotic in my eyes. They had like 10 questions or something, but you could feel the lack of time. It was hilarious to see such a group which was convinced covid is just a flu or something and to have the CDC head on the other side. There was a question about the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, about that it didn't turn out to be that much of a deal and that there was a lot of fear mongering, to which van Dissel replied "I don't know, that was a predecessor of mine". After another question about "how many models so far were true", he replied something about there was a margin of error, like in weather reports. Viruswaarheid had another question. After that the judge said "I think it's time for mr. van Dissel to go home now". He then was asked something anyways, I don't really remember. The judge said "we should grant mr. van Dissel some rest now" after that.

All of this felt like a blitz party of chess. I associate jurisprudence with slow processes, but all of this felt fast. And for some reason, it also felt comedic.

There was a section dedicated to interests of both parties. I didn't really follow it that much. I do remember that it starts of really technical, but the judge makes tries to make it really more high level, which succeeds.

In the end, less than half an hour before 21:00, the court ruled something like "look ok this is about interests. The interest of viruswaarheid is limited to a few days, namely until the day the verdict of the High Council. (...) this interest is at most a week. The interest of the state is to prevent a yoyo-effect. Now there is a curfew, if we don't grant the suspension then the curfew will be lifted. Then the curfew happens again. What happens if we do the same as the voorzieningsrechter? Then the curfew would be dropped anyways, in summary just a few days later. Under these circumstances, we judge the state's interests weigh more, so I suspend the earlier verdict until the High Council case has been finished. (...)"rechtspraaak, NOS, NU

Viruswaarheid were noticeably angry. "You're making a huge mistake", one said loudly while the judge was talking.

So there we have it. Begin the day without a curfew, end the day with one.

After all this, I really wanted to go on bicycle ride, but that would mean I'd violate the curfew, which I did. If the police wants to give me a fine I simply say that I was confused because I thought the curfew was gone. This would of course, only work for tonight, if at all.

"But JOB, you have a moral obligation not to spread da virus (within reason)!!1" - that's true. But I figured out going for a bicycle ride would be unlikely to spread the virus, as I wouldn't come close to any people. In the end, that would mean, I could live with myself. Also this is the only time I was going to violate a curfew on purpose. During my ride, I saw no traffic at all but 4 people having a walk with their dog(this is one of the exceptions of the curfew).

Though thinking about it in hindsight, I do think that was wrong. Not in an epidemiological sense, but because other people who wanted a night walk stayed inside, so why did I think it's a OK to go outside? It's distortion of competition, and perhaps a little egoistic. Oh well.