Requirement To Wear Respirators Struck Down By Supreme Administrative Court

The Supreme Administrative Court of the Czech Republic has annulled the anti-epidemic measure imposed by the Ministry of Health requiring the use of respiratory protective equipment in public spaces, citing a lack of legal justification. The Ministry has three days to provide further justification and allow the measure to remain in force. Photo Credit: Freepik / Illustrative Photo.

Czech Rep., Jul 28 (BD) – In a ruling earlier today, the Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) annulled the Ministry of Health’s anti-epidemic regulation requiring the use of respiratory protective equipment in public interior spaces.

The case was brought before the court by a citizen suffering from a long-term respiratory disease, which made it very difficult for him to wear a respirator, who also has high levels of antibodies after previously contracting Covid-19. He argued that wearing a respirator posed more of a danger to his health than not wearing one. Referring to previous rulings, the SAC agreed that the Ministry had not provided sufficient justification to require the wearing of respirators in such cases.

According to court documents, the ruling has been deferred for three days to give the Ministry the option of providing further legal justification. In its judgment, the SAC specifically described the direction in which the reasoning needs to be adjusted to satisfy legal standards; despite previous such rulings, the SAC found that the Ministry of Health had still not eliminated most of the alleged defects in the legal basis.

“The court just requires the ministry to meet the justification requirements, as set out in the pandemic law. But the ministry cannot do it,” said Petr Mikeš, President of the Eighth Chamber of the SAC. The courts have canceled government anti-epidemic measures many times since last spring.

Health Minister Adam Vojtech (ANO) said that the wearing of respirators is a fundamental anti-epidemic measure and needs to remain in force. The Ministry, therefore, intends to provide the necessary legal justification to restore the regulation. 

More than 10 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have now been administered in the Czech Republic. According to Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO), it should be clear before the start of the school year whether people from vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, will be vaccinated with a third dose.

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