Tallinn court: Ban on customers inside café during Covid unlawful

MEM Cafe.
MEM Cafe. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Tallinn Administrative Court has upheld an appeal from the owner of MEM Café in a case, which received a lot of attention at the height of the coronavirus restrictions. According to a report by Estonian daily Postimees, the court ruled, that a spring 2021 government order banning customers from using the café's indoor areas was unlawful.

OÜ MEM Cafes' appeal to the court concerned two government orders, adopted on April 22, 2021 and May 6, 2021, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which involved imposing restrictions on the use of the café's indoor facilities, Postimees reports.

The restrictions in question, prohibited customers from staying or moving around in the indoor sales or service areas of catering establishments, unless they were buying food to take away or providing courier or delivery services.

MEM Cafes asked Tallinn Administrative Court to declare the government orders to introduce the restrictions, which affected the indoor operations of all catering establishments in Estonia, unlawful.

The restrictions were originally imposed by a government order dated March 9, 2021 and later extended.

The court noted that, in its analysis of the government orders and accompanying explanatory memoranda, it had found no reason to suggest, that keeping indoor catering premises open at that time, would have directly led to higher coronavirus infection rates.

The Court also emphasized, that reasons for imposing restrictions on the activities of catering establishments were set out in the government orders. However, given the extent of the restrictions and the duration for which they were in force, the reasons provided were too general and explanations not sufficiently detailed.  

The Court added, that ultimately it was unable to conclude that the appropriateness, necessity and proportionality of the restrictions had been sufficiently assessed before being introduced.


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Editor: Michael Cole

Source: Postimees

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