Court tosses out coronavirus access pass challenge
The coronavirus admission system is allowed to continue in the Netherlands for the time being, a court in The Hague ruled on Wednesday. The court rejected a demand from attorney Bart Maes to suspend the coronavirus access pass program in a summary proceeding against the State that Maes initiated.
He argued in court that it was “illegal, punishable, and discriminatory” to check people for the QR codes. The codes signify that a person is fully vaccinated against Covid-19, has recovered from a coronavirus infection, or recently tested negative for the infection. The codes are often displayed in the government’s CoronaCheck app, and are required if someone wants to visit most hospitality businesses, cultural spaces, or entertainment venues. Maes said the measure violates the Dutch constitution and international treaties.
The court’s initial position was that it must exercise restraint when assessing new measures, as judges have said in previous summary proceedings. The court said it can only intervene if there is an unreasonable policy or if the legal basis for such a policy is lacking.
That is not the case here, the court said in the ruling. There is a legal basis for introducing the access pass system, and the State has reasonably explained that coronavirus measures are still necessary. The court determined that access testing has a legitimate purpose: to limit the spread of the virus.
The use of the QR code as evidence is not in conflict with prohibitions against the practice of discrimination, the court ruled. It also does not infringe upon fundamental or human rights.
The government introduced the coronavirus passes to safely eliminate rules mandating people keep 1.5 meters away from each other in many circumstances. The government decided to make coronavirus passes required for those entering food and beverage businesses, cinemas, theaters, concert halls, and events because it is difficult to maintain physical distance in those locations. That makes it harder to curb the spread of the viral infection.
The QR codes are to be used by anyone aged 13 and over. People aged 12 and younger are not eligible to be vaccinated against the coronavirus disease. A person must obtain a negative test result within 24 hours before entering a venue for the QR code to be valid.
Reporting by ANP