While it doesn’t mean the immediate reopening of stores, the Czech Constitutional Court has rescinded the ban on retail stores, declaring it unlawful under the constitution.
A coalition of Czech senators opposing the coronavirus shutdowns convinced judges that the restrictions on businesses were confusing, discriminatory, and needlessly harmful to business owners and entrepreneurs.
They argue that the restrictions are ostensibly being made up as they go along, making it so that business owners and entrepreneurs have no idea whether or not their product or service is banned, or about to be banned.
“For example, are pillows and sheets, or a vacuum cleaner, or curtains, or a blender, or dishes or other things like that ‘essential’ for normal household needs? There’s no legislation that tells entrepreneurs whether or not they fall under some sort of exception.”
The judges ruled that some restrictions are illogical, and that the cabinet has to be able to define and justify their restrictions instead of putting a blanket ban on all retail selling, with no clear list of exceptions.
Because of a technicality, the ruling doesn’t mean the opening of stores because it applies to the restrictions between January 28 and February 14. However, some officials are saying that the current restrictions are identical to the last ones, and therefore need to be repealed as well.
Tomáš Prouza, head of the Confederation of Trade and Tourism of the Czech Republic, supports the Constitutional Court’s decision and wants the government to replace 100% of all the money that business owners lost during that period.
“The current measures are exactly the same as the one that was just repealed, so it’s just as unconstitutional. Therefore, I expect that the government will repeal the current measures and the stores will be able to open within a few days,” he said.
“Right now, I call on government officials to publicly apologize to owners and operators of unconstitutionally closed stores and to approve a system whereby within one week they are compensated for 100% of average revenues for that period.”