Karlsruhe approves restaurant closures due to the Corona emergency brake

At the moment there are hardly any mandatory corona rules. It was completely different a year ago, when the federal emergency brake prescribed restrictions in almost all areas of life. Karlsruhe sees no problem in this.
Restaurants, cafés and pubs were allowed to be temporarily closed during the peak phases of the corona pandemic.

A year after the many restrictions imposed by the so-called federal emergency brake, the Federal Constitutional Court also approved this measure. “The protection of health and life is a legitimate purpose, the pursuit of which can even justify serious interference with professional freedom,” the Karlsruhe court said on Tuesday. A restaurant operator from Berlin had complained. (Az. 1 BvR 1295/21)

BVerfG had previously approved contact and exit restrictions

The decision comes as no surprise. Because the judges of the First Senate had already given their blessing to central measures of the Corona emergency brake a few months ago.

These very fundamental decisions dealt with contact and exit restrictions and the temporary closure of schools. A chamber of the same Senate is now following this case law.
Formally, it is about the former catalog of measures of paragraph 28b, which was inserted into the Infection Protection Act on April 22, 2021 and remained in force until the end of June 2021. The federal government wanted to ensure that the same measures take effect everywhere in the state as soon as the corona situation in a region worsens.

Measures from an incidence of 100

The emergency brake had to be pulled automatically if the so-called seven-day incidence in a district or an independent city exceeded 100 on several days. The value indicates how many new infections per 100,000 inhabitants there are within a week.

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Restaurants also had to close as soon as the threshold was reached. They were only allowed to sell takeaway food and drinks or deliver them to order.
The constitutional judges emphasize the broad scope of the legislature.

At that time there was a “particular urgency” to “act to protect the overridingly important legal interests of life and health and the functionality of the health system”.

It goes on to say: “The basic approach of protecting these public interest interests primarily through measures to limit contact at contact points – which also includes the closure of restaurants – is not constitutionally objectionable.”
The decision also refers to the state aid programs for those affected and the time limit for the measures. In Berlin, the emergency brake applied from April 24 to May 18, 2021. The possible maximum duration of two months was not reached anywhere else either.

wave of constitutional complaints

The decision of the federal emergency brake had triggered a wave of lawsuits in Karlsruhe, because for the first time the Federal Constitutional Court could be involved directly without going through the administrative courts.
At the moment there are hardly any Corona requirements. Since the beginning of April, only a few general specifications for masks can be issued for example in practices, nursing homes, clinics, buses and trains as well as for tests in schools. A so-called hotspot rule allows additional requirements if a state parliament determines that there is a regionally critical situation for the clinics. Regardless of state rules, companies, shops and other facilities can continue to maintain specifications such as the obligation to wear a mask. (dpa)

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