Europe

Covid passport for bars justified for the “collective well-being”

As had been expected, the Balearic High Court gave its endorsement on Thursday to the need to present the Covid certificate inside bars and restaurants with seating capacity of 50 or more and in all nightlife.

The court was of the view that this measure is appropriate for limiting the spread of the virus, is necessary due to the increase in infections and is proportionate to the slight limitation of individual freedom for the benefit of collective health. It may entail the restriction or limitation of freedoms, but not the suspension.

Drawing on the judgment of the Supreme Court in respect of the use of the certificate in Galicia, the court argued that limitation of rights through the requirement of this document is “tenuous” compared to the “powerful presence” of other fundamental rights, such as the right to life, physical integrity and health protection.

The document has a “triple modality” – complete vaccination, negative test or having had Covid. It is therefore “accessible to all”. Whoever does not want to show whether or not they have been vaccinated can present alternative documentation.

The display of some data regarding an individual’s health, of which establishments do not keep any record, would be a “very tenuous invasion” of the right to personal privacy, which is compensated by access to the stipulated establishments.

In reference to the rights of those who do not have one of the required documents, the court considers that “these are the rights of those who have chosen to prioritise their personal freedom over the collective well-being“.

The court defended the proportionality of the measure, arguing that the right not to submit to any of the measures whose documentary proof is required (vaccination or diagnostic tests) is respected. The court believed that this is about access to closed spaces for a non-essential activity, and that it is objectively and reasonably justified for the protection of people’s health and lives, as this is a measure that restricts the spread of a pandemic.

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