Court backs curfew and limit on gatherings
Catalonia's High Court backs measures despite opposition from Prosecutor's Office
BarcelonaCatalonia's High Court of Justice has backed the curfew and the 10-person limit on gatherings the Generalitat requested. People will have to stay at home between 1 am and 6 am in towns of over 10,000 inhabitants with an incidence above 250 cases for every 100,000 inhabitants in the past week, as well as those adjacent to them, as proposed by the Catalan Government. The judicial endorsement comes despite opposition from the Prosecutor's Office, which had asked to overturn the restrictions because it did not consider them proportionate.
The Catalan Government applied for authorisation for these restrictions on Wednesday; they require judicial endorsement because they affect fundamental rights. The executive intends to implement them tonight, along with the closure of nightlife and a 50% reduction in capacity in bars' and restaurants' indoor spaces and a 30% reduction in shops and cultural and sporting events. After receiving a request from the Generalitat, the High Court asked the Prosecutor to assess the measures, although this assessment is not binding. In fact, the Court had already ignored the Prosecutor's assessment on the use of the covid pass.
The prosecution considers that both the curfew and the limit on meetings are not "proportionate" or "necessary" measures at this point, despite the high incidence of cases. In its brief, it recalled how a November Catalan High Court ruling warned the Government that in order to impose new restrictions it was not enough to resort only to the increase in infections and vaccination rates. On that occasion, the Government sought approval for covid passes to be used to access night clubs and, despite this argument, the court gave its approval.
"These reasons are not sufficient to limit fundamental rights, because they do not justify the intended purpose, they are severe, extensive, very restrictive, intense and widespread measures," insists the Prosecutor, who argues that the Generalitat could resort to measures other than the curfew to achieve the same results.