Exceptions for churches – constitutional court annuls next corona rule


According to the Constitutional Court (VfGH), the corona-related ban on entering cultural institutions in the autumn of 2021 was illegal. However, the reason for this is not the measure itself, the constitutional judges found in a decision published on Tuesday. Rather, they object to the exemptions for churches and religious communities, which would have been “contrary to equality.”

The 5th COVID-19 Emergency Measures Ordinance provided for a nationwide lockdown for the period from November 22, 2021 to December 11, 2021. Entering the customer area of ​​cultural institutions was prohibited without exception during this period. On the other hand, gatherings for the common practice of religion were excluded from the scope of the regulation.

Although churches and faith communities drew up their own rules at the time, the Constitutional Court sees no “objective justification for such unequal treatment of religion and art”. In both cases, “certain exercise of fundamental rights together with or in the presence of others is essential”, the reasoning goes.

Request by culture workers
The reason for the current decision of the Constitutional Court was a request from various cultural workers against the ban on entering cultural institutions. “There are no constitutional objections to the ban on entering cultural institutions,” the constitutional judges said. This measure was suitable to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

VfGH has already undone many pandemic rules
The pandemic rules overturned by the highest courts include entry bans, the minimum distance between tables in restaurants, the hospitality industry’s obligation to inform authorities of suspected cases and the ban on takeaway meals from ski lodges during the 2020/2021 winter season.

Source: Krone


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