As of April 27, the Prague district court has canceled the four anti-coronavirus measures imposed by the Ministry of Health, deeming them unlawful. These measures included movement restrictions and greatly limited retail sales and services in the Czech Republic. The ruling that nullifies these restrictive measures of the Ministry of Health refers to their implementation under the public protection law rather than the crisis management law. The ministry’s measures as “arbitrary, chaotic and incomprehensible”.
The government will have the opportunity to implement them again in a different way, i.e. under the Crisis Act, before the ruling takes effect.
While it can be expected that the government will release the canceled measures in another form, further information is not yet available. Czech media channels are currently reaching the Ministry of Health Adam Vojtěch, Vice Minister of Health Roman Prymula and Prime Minister Andrej Babiš to evaluate their next steps.
The Czech government previously announced a five-step plan for the reopening of stores. Restrictions on free movement still remained to be addressed.
The Prague municipal court filed a legal complaint lodged by health law expert Ondrej Dostál. He criticized the ministry’s measures as “arbitrary, chaotic and incomprehensible”.
On Twitter, Dostál wrote that “the government has turned the crisis legislation into an unacceptable calendar”.
Dostál had initially filed a complaint against government measures issued on March 23 and March 26; while these have been replaced by subsequent measures, the Prague Municipal Court has allowed him to update his complaint to address the measures currently in force.
Public statements against the government:
“The court fully understands that the current situation in the Czech Republic is completely out of the ordinary and does not want to minimize the threats posed by the health pandemic to the state and its inhabitants,” said President of the Judicial Chamber Štěpán Výborný, said in his sentence.
“The court fully respects that the state of emergency has been declared by the government, as well as the reasons why it has been declared. However, the Court could not ignore the fact that the scope of these contested measures constitutes an unprecedented restriction on fundamental rights, in particular the freedom of movement and the freedom of establishment. ”
Výborný said that even in the current situation, state authorities should insist on the rules and maintain the rule of law to the maximum extent possible. The government should have enacted the measures provided for in the Crisis Act, he added.
“The court must reject the management of a single ministry with all this power in its hands,” added Výborný.
“The court’s decision is only a sad confirmation of the incompetence and chaos of the government, which threatens the fate of people and the prosperity of the country,” wrote ODS president Petr Fiala on Twitter.
“The court confirmed our concerns that the government acted illegally when it stopped making decisions under the Crisis Management Act and proceeded under the public protection law.”
“The president of the Senate stressed that, even in the current situation, it is necessary that public authorities adhere to the rules to preserve the rule of law as much as possible,” wrote pirate president Ivan Bartoš.
The BBC reports that residents will now be able to gather in groups of 10. Starting yesterday, citizens can also start traveling abroad: they will be tested for coronavirus on their return. Universities will also reopen, as will some shops, libraries and fitness centers.
However, the current state of emergency will likely be extended to May 25, as Al-Jazeera reports.
Hairdressers and shopping malls can reopen on May 11 and restaurants, theaters and hotels will join them on May 25.
Some shops selling non-essential goods have been allowed to reopen and some sports facilities have also been reopened. Restrictions on exercise have also been lifted.
Sources: BBC, Al-Jazeera