Published in the Official Journal of 15 November 2020 after its approval by the Constitutional Council, Law No. 2020-1379 of 14 November 2020 comes in the context of a second wave of Covid-19 in France and extends the state of public health emergency declared by Decree No. 2020-1257 of 14 October 2020, which is extended until 16 February 2021 inclusive. The state of public health emergency introduced by the law of 23 March 2020 to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic made it possible, in particular, to impose a lockdown of the population.
The Law of 14 November 2020 broadens (i) the scope of medical tests included in the collection of personal data by information systems in the context of patient monitoring, contact tracing and research, where appropriate without the consent of the persons concerned, and (ii) that of the healthcare professionals responsible for implementing these information systems. Moreover, this collection of personal data is extended until 1 April 2021 at the latest.
In addition, this law authorises the government to take, by ordinance, until 16 February 2021 any measures falling within the scope of the law with a view to extending or restoring the application of the provisions taken during the first wave of Covid-19, particularly in the field of aid to distressed companies, furloughing and employment law, as well as measures relating to procedures applicable before administrative and judicial courts. Certain measures may be applied retroactively, for a period which may begin no earlier than the date on which the provisions they reinstate ceased to apply.
The Law of 14 November 2020 sets up a new mechanism that aims to protect companies. This mechanism makes it possible to fully defer or stagger the payment of invoices or rent for businesses renting professional and commercial premises closed due to a state of public health emergency. A decree applicable retroactively to 17 October 2020 will specify the eligibility criteria for companies.
The transitional regime for ending the state of public health emergency introduced by Law No. 2020-856 of 9 July 2020 organising the end of the state of public health emergency is extended until 1 April 2021. This transitional regime, which allows the Prime Minister and Prefects to take measures to limit the spread of the virus (limiting access to public transport, closing restaurants, etc.), is extended to the entire country and will take over when the state of public health emergency ends on 16 February 2021.
The mechanism introduced by Law No. 2020-734 of 17 June 2020 allowing furloughed employees to monetise conventional rest days and leave guaranteeing them health insurance despite the crisis is extended until 30 June 2020.
Lastly, in terms of criminal law, the Law of 14 November 2020 strengthens the protection of victims of domestic violence during lockdown and provides that repeat offences related to failure to comply with lockdown measures may lead to the application of the fixed fine procedure.
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