The Council of State validated Wednesday the closure of theaters and cinemas, decided by the government at least until January 7, in view of the “Health context” and “Risk of an increase in the epidemic in the short term”.
“Given the very evolving nature of this situation, with a risk of an increase in the epidemic in the short term, (…) the decision of the Prime Minister, on the date of this order, does not constitute a manifestly illegal attack on fundamental freedoms enjoyed by the applicants ”, indicates the Council of State in its decision.
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The highest administrative court had been seized according to the procedure of summary liberty by cultural professionals who challenged the postponement Friday, December 11 of the opening of theaters, museums, cinemas and performance halls. Cinemas, theaters and circuses considered their freedoms of association and expression compromised by the government’s decision.
An unfavorable context
In view of the latest contamination figures, with nearly 12,000 positive cases on Tuesday, and fears around the holidays and a variant of the virus, cultural actors were not having many illusions after being heard by the Council on Monday. of state.
But at the same time, the judges offer them serious grounds for hope, by partially validating their arguments: if the health situation improves, the maintenance of the general closure of cinemas and other venues, which violates freedoms, does not could not be “Justified by the sole persistence of a risk of contamination of spectators by the SARS-CoV-2 virus”, he judges.
The Wise Men also underline in their decision the effectiveness of the health protocols put in place in theaters, where the risk of transmission of the virus is therefore “Lower than for other events bringing together the public in a closed place”.
A hope “
“The Council of State notes the adequacy of particularly strict health protocols as well as serious infringements of freedoms”, underlined the lawyers Vincent Brengarth and William Bourdon, part of the ” disappointment “ of the Parisian theaters they defended.
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But they also see it as a “Hope” reopening for rooms closed since the start of the second confinement at the end of October: “As soon as the situation improves, the theaters expect the government to draw all the consequences of this important decision of the Council of State and of its motivation”.