The appeal : The Union des Métiers et des Industries de l'Hôtellerie (UMIH, or the Union of Hotel Trades and Industries) has asked the Conseil d’État to suspend the closure of bars and restaurants in France, a decision taken by the Government on 29 October 2020.
The decision of the Conseil d’État : The urgent applications judge did not suspend the closure of bars and restaurants.
He noted that, according to French scientific committees, social gatherings with a high density of people are one of the primary causes of COVID-19 transmission, and that the risk of infection increases when people stay in an enclosed space for long periods of time. He also noted that a scientific study published in Nature journal last month concluded that restaurants and bars (such as hotels and sports halls) present a significantly higher risk of transmission of the virus than other places where people mix, such as shops.
The judge also observed that all French hospitals are currently under strain, and that a patchwork approach to the closure of bars and restaurants would not be able to break the current dynamic of the virus' spread. The same applies to less restrictive measures, such as a curfew, which would not be likely to lead to a health effect comparable to that expected from the closure.
For these various reasons, the urgent applications judge ruled that the infringement of the freedom of trade and industry was not excessive, given the risks incurred by the population in bars and restaurants.