The Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC) has authorized the extension of the curfew and the prohibition of meetings of more than ten people for another 14 days, until January 21, as requested by the Generalitat to stop the rise of contagion from the coronavirus and reduce healthcare pressure.
In an order, the third section of the contentious chamber of the Catalan High Court endorses the extension of these restrictions, which affect fundamental rights, which on this occasion the Prosecutor’s Office has not opposed, considering that the current situation of the pandemic presents “quite unfavorable” characteristics and that it is necessary to adequately guarantee the defense of health care.
In this way, the curfew will apply until January 21 between one and six in the morning in 132 Catalan towns -including Barcelona, metropolitan cities and the other provincial capitals- with more than 10,000 residents and one 7-day cumulative incidence of more than 250 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, as well as those known as “island municipalities” that adjoin high-incidence localities.
In addition to the curfew and the limitation of a maximum of ten people in meetings in the public and private sphere -with the exception of nuclei of coexistence, demonstrations or acts of political participation-, the High Court has also validated the extension of the use of the Covid passport as up to now and 70% of the capacity in religious acts and civil ceremonies.
Likewise, the Government has agreed to extend the current measures that do not require prior judicial endorsement for another 14 days: closure of discos and nightlife venues, 50% capacity inside restaurants and bars, and 70% in shops, sports facilities, halls of concerts, theaters, cinemas, auditoriums and circuses with marquees.
In this case, the TSJC has yet to resolve the appeal filed by the Fecasarm nightlife employer’s association, although before New Year’s Eve the High Court already refused to cancel these measures immediately for the celebration of the end of the year.
On December 23, the TSJC authorized the Government to apply the curfew and the limitation of meetings to a maximum of ten people -with an initial validity foreseen until next Friday, January 7-, considering that these restrictions were suitable , necessary and proportional to the rise of the sixth wave and to avoid the collapse of health services.
In the resolution that now authorizes the extension of the curfew and limiting the meetings to ten people, the room assures that it cannot ignore the relevance and importance of the coronavirus pandemic and points out that Catalonia is facing the sixth wave in its “in full swing”, a situation where its endorsement should be framed to “mitigate the risk derived from activities with significant social interaction.”
The TSJC recalls that the coronavirus is causing many deaths and hospitalizations with serious pathologies, which forces to adopt preventive measures “because the expansion of the pandemic generates an extraordinary risk for the rights of citizens, starting with the most precious, such as it is the right to life “.
According to the court, with the indexes of the magnitude of the impact of the coronavirus, which the Government has presented in its report, it is concluded that the situation currently presents “quite unfavorable” characteristics, so measures must be adopted in defense of the life, health and “a health care system whose limited resources must be adequately guaranteed.”
For this reason, the court argues that, in the midst of a pandemic, the preservation of fundamental rights such as life, physical integrity and the protection of health acquire a “special character” and should be the “main criterion” to take into account, Without facing them there are “other different rights deserving of better protection”.