Covid, the state of emergency has been extended until 31 December. What does it mean and its repercussions

Covid, the state of emergency has been extended until 31 December. What does it mean and its repercussions
Covid, the state of emergency has been extended until 31 December. What does it mean and its repercussions

Go ahead for the green pass decree. The measures approved include the extension of the state of emergency to 31 December.

What the state of emergency means

A state of emergency can be declared upon the occurrence or imminence of natural disasters or events related to human activity in Italy. It can also be declared in case of serious events abroad in which the Italian civil protection participates directly.

The Civil Protection Code (Legislative Decree No. 1 of 2 January 2018), redefines the duration of the state of emergency of national importance, bringing it to a maximum of 12 months, which can be extended for a further 12 months.

The Council of Ministers can decide on the national state of emergency, without the need to go through Parliament, for type C calamitous events. In Italy, in fact, these events are classified into 3 types based on the extent, intensity and response capacity of the civil protection system: type A provides for a direction of interventions at the municipal level, type B at the provincial and regional level, the type C nationwide.

The state of emergency can also be declared by the Council of Ministers as a preventive measure, that is “upon the occurrence or imminence of natural disasters or events connected with human activity in Italy”. It can also be declared in the event of “serious events abroad in which the Italian Civil Protection directly participates”.

The state of emergency, to cope with the health crisis caused by Covid, was approved for the first time by the Council of Ministers on January 31, 2020 by the government of the then Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. Subsequently, the state of emergency was always extended, most recently in the April Reopening decree, until 31 July 2021. Now the extension until the end of the year.

The national state of emergency, as foreseen by article 24 of legislative decree 1/2008, cannot exceed 12 months and can be extended for no more than 12 months. The current state of emergency, therefore, can be extended until January 31, 2022.

At the end of the state of emergency, if no further extensions are necessary or possible, a “closing” order is issued, which governs and regulates the takeover of the competent administration in the ordinary way and therefore the return to normality.

The state of emergency gives the government and the Civil Protection “extraordinary” or “special” powers. For the implementation of the interventions, provision is made in derogation from any current provision and in compliance with the general principles of the legal system. The procedures for approving laws and decrees are also streamlined.

With the resolution of the state of emergency, the Council of Ministers allocates an initial sum to carry out the first necessary interventions. For the allocation of other resources, a further resolution will have to be passed, which will have to take into account a survey carried out by the delegated commissioners on how useful it is to deal with the emergency.

Since we entered a state of emergency due to the Covid emergency, measures such as the red areas, the obligation of outdoor masks (later expired on June 28, 2021), social distancing have been arranged. Furthermore, among other measures, the use of smart working for companies was encouraged.

With the national state of emergency, the government, moreover, can resort to the Dpcm, decrees of the President of the Council of Ministers, which do not pass through parliamentary approval. Even if the executive led by Mario Draghi, unlike the previous one led by Giuseppe Conte, preferred to intervene through decree laws, subject to conversion into law by the Parliament.

With the extension of the state of emergency the bodies set up to deal with the pandemic are kept in operation, starting with the extraordinary commissioner and the CTS, Technical Scientific Committee.

The state of emergency it has also allowed the adoption in the private sector of simplified smart working, i.e. without the need for an individual agreement between company and worker. Simplified procedure which, regardless of whether or not the state of emergency is extended, will continue until 31 December 2021.

The state of emergency is also linked to provisions concerning the world of schools such as distance learning and some work provisions in the case of school classes in quarantine.

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