Facts of the case
A Potsdam citizen petitioned the Higher Administrative Court of Berlin-Brandenburg to order a partial stay of enforcement for the State of Brandenburg’s Covid-19 Containment Ordinance of 22 March 2020. Specifically, the citizen objected to § 1(1) and § 11 of the Ordinance. § 1(1) of the Ordinance prohibits public and non-public events, conventions and other gatherings, while § 11 of the Ordinance defines additional rules for occupancy of public space. The petitioner argues that these rules of conduct infringe upon his freedom of movement.
Content of the decision
The Higher Administrative Court of Berlin-Brandenburg dismissed the petition.
The court ruled that the prohibition of “other gatherings” and the rules for occupancy of public space do not affect the petitioner’s freedom of movement.
It noted that the provisions challenged by the petitioner have an adequate legal basis in the Protection against Infection Act. Furthermore, in light of experiences with the novel coronavirus, the protective measures ordered under the Ordinance are suitable and fair, in the view of the Higher Administrative Court of Berlin-Brandenburg, and do not exceed the discretion given to the issuer of the Ordinance. The court also noted that it is not evident that the provisions questioned by the petitioner go any further than the measures which were agreed upon on 22 March 2020 in a binding agreement between the Federal Chancellor and the heads of government of the individual Federal States.
The most important thing at present is to protect ourselves and our fellow citizens from infection. As a result, ordinances which are implemented based on recommendations from the Chancellor and the State governments will typically take precedence over private interests in keeping stores open, celebrating birthdays and eating at restaurants. These ordinances have been issued in order to counteract the unchecked spread of the Covid-19 virus so that the virus can be contained in a few weeks or months, and so that the economy can flourish once again.back