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NRW: Court confirms closing hours for restaurants and bars

Bonn pub owner fought curfew in court without success : Higher Administrative Court confirms closing hours for pubs in NRW

The Higher Administrative Court in Münster has upheld the curfew for restaurants and bars in risk areas in North Rhine-Westphalia One of the plaintiffs was a publican from Bonn.

The Higher Administrative Court in Münster has confirmed the closing hours for restaurants and bars in risk areas in North Rhine-Westphalia. The rule of the state government in the Corona Protection Ordinance in force since 17 October was lawful, as the OVG announced on Monday.

The ban on the sale of alcohol between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. serves the legitimate purpose of slowing down the spread of the corona virus. According to the OVG's statement of reasons, the closing hours contribute to reducing contact. The decision is not contestable (Ref.: 13 B 1581/20.NE).

In the opinion of the 13th Senate, the further spread of the coronavirus threatens to get out of control due to a lack of tracking possibilities.

The current infection situation is characterised by a rapid increase in the number of infections. The bans challenged by the applicants are suitable to slow down this, according to a statement of the OVG.

The curfews would prevent encounters of changing groups of guests even after 23.00 hours on the way to and from the restaurants. The ban on alcohol serves to prevent further proliferation due to the uninhibiting effect of alcohol.

In the opinion of the highest administrative judges, the curfew does indeed interfere considerably with the freedom of occupation of restaurateurs. However, the stricter rules are also in the interests of the plaintiffs so that the establishments can remain open at least from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The decision was taken in what is known as a "Normenkontroll-Eilverfahren" (summary procedure for the review of standards) by 19 applicants, who run restaurants in Bonn, Cologne and the Rhein-Sieg district.

Further complaints from other restaurateurs in Bochum, Duisburg, Essen, Dortmund, Hemer (Märkischer Kreis) and Düsseldorf are pending before the OVG.

One lawsuit is supported by the industry association Dehoga. The OVG's answer to the legal question on the Corona Protection Ordinance does not automatically settle the other proceedings. The applicants would have to withdraw their summary proceedings.

Since 17 October, a mandatory curfew for the catering trade has been in force in North Rhine-Westphalia in all municipalities with high numbers of new corona infections. All pubs and other catering establishments must keep their doors closed for guests between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

According to the updated Corona Protection Ordinance, the curfew applies in municipalities with 50 or more new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days. Millions of people are already affected.

(dpa Translation: Mareike Graepel)