The Supreme Court has decided to endorse one of the most controversial measures of the Xunta de Galicia to fight against the spread of COVID last August: require the COVID passport in restaurants and nightclubs. The judges of the contentious-administrative chamber consider the appeal from the Galician executive and they understand that this measure is “suitable, necessary and proportionate.”
The Xunta appeals the decision of the Superior Court of Galicia to reject the COVID certificate to enter the hospitality industry
The Chamber affirms that “the benefit that provides the measure, with respect to the significant reduction of infections, it is much higher than the sacrifice involved in the requirement to present documentation for access to the premises. In short, there is no glimpse of any measure that is more appropriate to safeguard the life and health of citizens, in this type of premises ”.
The Xunta de Galicia tried unsuccessfully to obtain the endorsement of the Superior Court of Xustiza on August 20. The requirement of a COVID passport or even a negative PCR test to be able to access certain restaurants and nightlife venues, such as discos. The Galician judges then said that there was a “comparative offense” in relation to other sectors where this passport was not required and they also denounced a “demonization” of the hotel industry.
For the Supreme Court, with Judge Pilar Teso as rapporteur, this measure is ideal considering that in places of leisure you have to lower your mask to eat or drink. “They must necessarily withdraw to eat and drink, in the same way that it is difficult to maintain a safe distance, they usually converse with a higher tone of voice, or even sing, which favors the inhalation of drops and respiratory aerosols emitted by an infected “.
The Supreme Court understands that closing the bars is “of course the safest measure” but also unfeasible. The closure of bars and nightclubs, say the judges, “could cause nightlife to lead to concentrations on public roads, which would pose a serious risk to public health for all, in addition to the economic and labor costs in the affected sectors. “.
The case of Andalusia
This is the second ruling issued by the Supreme Court on this measure. Last August the same court rejected this measure proposed by the Junta de Andalucía understanding that it was too generic and for the entire territory without taking into account the incidence rate and also being undefined.
The Supreme Court’s order also refers to this case and denies that there is a contradiction between the two decisions. The circumstances between the two assumptions “are very different, as the justification provided in both cases by the appellant Administration is also different. Therefore, it is not surprising that our conclusion is also different.” In the case of Andalusia, the Junta tried to implement the measure in a generic way and without even establishing time limits.
In the case of Galicia, the judges endorse that it does not make a “clean sweep” in all territories without taking into account where the pandemic has had the most impact. “On the contrary, the Order establishes a kind of map that graduates the incidence of the pandemic in each place” establishing levels based on the severity of the incidence in each municipality.
Family reunions in Extremadura
In another decision of the same contentious court of the Supreme known this Tuesday, the judges endorse that at the time the Extremadura executive declared the health alert level 3 in Cáceres and limited the number of non-cohabiting people who could get together in meetings to four relatives.
In this case, the Supreme Court also understood that the measure was not imposed in a generic way for the entire territory and rejected an appeal from the Prosecutor’s Office. The measure, they say, “is not capricious” as it proceeds from an agreement of the Governing Council that, moreover, has not been challenged through the courts. “There is no judicial challenge to that general provision, nor its suspension or annulment.”