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 does not see this as a problem. 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)

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 in 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.

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 constitutionally unobjectionable.” 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.


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