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In Germany, anti-virus measures are thwarted in the courts

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A Berlin court on Friday overturned an order for restaurants and bars to close early, the latest in a series of legal decisions taken by measures taken by local and local governments in Germany to combat coronavirus transmission.

The latest legal setback for authorities in the German capital came after court challenges for another controversial measure banning hotel and holiday homes for local travelers from regions with high infection rates.

The legal tussle added another layer to the confusion over the rules agreed between the states and Chancellor Angela Merkel’s federal government, but which is actually left to the regional authorities of Germany’s 16 states to enforce.

On Friday, the Berlin authorities’ order to close restaurants and bars from 11am to 6am became the last to fail in court, a decision that could have a major impact on a sector hit hard by pandemic.

The administrative court of the German capital noted that new infections in Germany currently stem mainly from private gatherings of family and friends, in community settings, meat processing plants, religious gatherings or in connection with travel.

“It was not clear” that closing food and beverage establishments early would help fight the infection, the court found in the case brought by 11 restaurant and restaurant owners.

The measure, which took effect on October 10, was therefore a “disproportionate violation of the industry” of freedom, the court said.

Health Minister Jens Spahn said he was “very disappointed” by the decision, saying the logic behind the move was right because “there is no doubt that in big cities … especially in the late hours, what is happening in private places and the public is the instigator of current infections. “

The capital, known for its vibrant nightlife, had imposed restraint as new daily infections in Germany rose above 7,000 a record since the pandemic began.

According to rules agreed by the prime ministers of the 16 states of Germany and Merkel, local authorities are required to set the first hours of closure for restaurants or bars once new infection numbers rise above the 35 per 100,000-person threshold in seven days.

More drastic restrictions are imposed when the daily workload increases to 50 per 100,000 people.

The economic capital Frankfurt as well as the western city of Cologne have also set early closing hours for restaurants and bars.

Berlin currently has a rate of 73.9 new cases per 100,000 people.

‘Rebel who escaped the autumn holidays’

In Merkel’s recent talks with state prime ministers on Wednesday, a host of other curbs were agreed on so-called coronation hotspots, including limits on the number of people gathering inside and banning alcohol sales late at night.

But Germany’s federal system means that states have the freedom to do what they want.

With the new round of restrictions met with greater resistance than in March and April when entire industries were ordered shut down to combat transmission, some states where infection rates are relatively low have chosen to simply ignore the measures. agreed with the Merkel government.

Elsewhere, the measures being imposed are being challenged in court.

One limitation that has particularly angered holidaymakers and hostel owners is the ban on staying in hotels or holiday homes for local travelers from areas where infection levels are high.

Up and down the country, individuals have taken legal action against this measure.

An administrative court in Baden-Wuerttemberg on Thursday overturned the ban in the state, in a case brought by a family from North Rhine-Westphalia who had made a holiday reservation in the southwestern German state.

Finding it to be a violation of freedom of movement, the court said Baden-Wuerttemberg authorities failed to provide evidence that the hotels were promoting the climb.

The decision was quickly followed by a similar one in Lower Saxony, where hostel manager Jens Lutz raised an issue against the ban imposed by the state.

Bild every day labeled him a “rebel” who “escaped the fall holidays.”

Several states, including Bavaria and Hesse, have since said they will lift the ban.

Only the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein has so far managed to score a victory in court, with the judge ruling that banning holiday stays from travelers from danger zones was necessary to bring the climb under control.

The mess of rules has left the Germans confused.

A poll by the ARD broadcaster found that two in three Germans want common rules across the country rather than regulated regulations imposed by states.


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2020 AFP

citation: In Germany, anti-virus measures are thwarted in the courts (2020, October 16) taken on October 16, 2020 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-10-germany-anti-virus-stumble-courts.html

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