Ordinances of the competent Federal Minister on the basis of the COVID-19 Measures Act
The Federal Minister for Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection adopted three ordinances on the basis of the COVID-19 Measures Act on Sunday, 15 March 2020, concerning interim measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In the meantime, minor changes have already been made.
The ordinance Federal Law Gazette II No 96/2020 as amended by Federal Law Gazette II Nr. 112/2020 prohibits as of 16 March, 0:00 am, entering the customer area of business premises of retailers and service providers as well as of leisure and sports businesses for the purpose of purchasing goods or services or using leisure and sports businesses. Certain exemptions are foreseen, in particular, in regard to public pharmacies, food traders, sale of medical and sanitary products, therapeutic appliances and aids, health and care services, emergency services, filling stations, banks and postal service providers. However, some of these exceptions only apply at certain times on working days.
As of 17 March 2020, 0:00 am, also the entry of business premises of all types of operations in the catering and hotel industry is prohibited (again with certain exemptions).
Only applicable for 16 March 2020, ordinance Federal Law Gazette II No. 97/2020 provides for a specific regulation whereby for all types of operations in the catering and hotel industry the opening time is determined at 5am and the closing time at 3 pm (again with certain exemptions).
The ordinance Federal Gazette II No. 98/ 2020 prohibits, in general, access to public places as of 16 March 2020, 0:00 hours. Exempted from the prohibition are, for example, access that is necessary (i) to meet the basic needs of daily life provided that a distance of at least one metre can be maintained between persons at the location where the needs are met, and (ii) for professional purposes provided that a distance of at least one metre can be maintained between persons at the place where the professional activity is carried out.
In particular, the stipulated minimum distance of one meter at places, (i) that are necessary to meet the basic needs of daily life or (ii) on workplaces, must only to be observed, if “the risk of infection cannot be minimized by taking appropriate protective measures. In addition, home office is not prescribed in the strict sense. However, a professional activity should preferably take place outside the workplace, if this is possible and employers and employees agree on this.
The catalogue of places with prohibition to enter is extended by the following facilities:
- Sanatoriums (Kuranstalten)
- facilities for rehabilitation, except for essential medical rehabilitation measures following acute medical treatment and in the context of support services for general hospitals
- Sports facilities.
The ordinances Federal Law Gazette II No 96/2020 and Federal Law Gazette II No 98/2020 must be understood to supplement each other, this in accordance with the rule that legal provisions shall be interpreted in a manner which lets them apply to the widest possible extent. Upon exempting certain businesses from the prohibition of access to customer areas for the purpose of buying goods and services, the term „meeting the basic needs of daily life“ employed by the ordinance Federal Law Gazette II No 98/2020 must not be interpreted too narrowly. After all the ordinance Federal Law Gazette II No 96/2020 does not restrict the scope of goods and services which may be offered by the exempted businesses. Its Section 2 para 2 probably rests on the assumption that the range of goods and services offered by exempted businesses may continue to be at least that which was permitted to be offered by enterprises within the exempted business areas until 16 March 2020 00:00 hours. Accordingly public places may be acceeded to take advantage of the full range of goods and services offered by the businesses exempted by ordinance Federal Law Gazette II No 96/2020; certainly the applicable rules on maintaining distance etc. shall be complied with.
Please note: This newsletter merely provides general information and does not constitute legal advice of any kind from Binder Grösswang Rechtsanwälte GmbH. The newsletter cannot replace individual legal consultation. Binder Grösswang Rechtsanwälte GmbH assumes no liability whatsoever for the content and correctness of the newsletter.
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