The statement was part of a written response to other political parties, ahead of a parliamentary vote on Tuesday on Denmark's new coronavirus bill, its second this month.
The Liberal Alliance, Social Liberal, Liberal and and New Right parties had all expressed concern that the new bill would allow police to raid private homes if there were “gatherings with persons outside the household” without needing to secure a court order.
“These are very far-reaching measures where we should have a doubts as to whether such violent interventions can be justified on the grounds of health care,” Alex Vanopslagh from the Liberal Alliance party said when the bill was announced last week.
But Heunicke on Tuesday confirmed that police would now need a court order, although “if the purpose of the investigation would be forfeited if they had to wait for a court order,” they will be empowered to raid gatherings first and then apply for judicial support retroactively.
“This means (…) that the police – in order to gain access to private housing – will have to proceed according to the ordinary criminal procedural rules on search,” Heunicke wrote in his written reply.
He added that court orders would not be granted for private Easter lunches or birthday parties, but would be more angled at gatherings “which can be equated with events, for example at nightclubs, bars and discos”.
According to DR, a major stumbling block for the bill has been the government's plan to empower itself to ban gatherings of down to three people without consulting either parliament or the health authorities.
Several parties want the government to only be able to do so on the advice of the health authorities.
Denmark's government has called on people to hold unusually low key celebrations over Easter, refraining from visiting relatives or travelling.
“Cancel Easter lunch. Postpone family visits. Don't go sightseeing around the country,” a statement read when the government announced that it was extending its lockdown on March 23.