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Chief Justice of the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court reinforces need for coordinated measures between the Federation's entities to confront Covid-19

04/28/2020

The Chief Justice of the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (STF), Justice Dias Toffoli, denied following the request of the government of Rio Grande do Norte to determine operating hours restrictions to a commercial establishment during the Covid-19 pandemic, provided for in a decree issued by the state.

According to the federative body, the decree was issued as a result of the increase in cases of those infected by the disease in the state. For this reason, on Sundays and holidays, it was determined the closure of establishments that operate food marketing activities and use artificial air circulation, by air conditioning, fans or similar.

He also claimed the possibility of risk of injury to public health, "in view of the imminent collapse of the state's public health system. The government also defended the technical rigor of the decision taken, according to him, based on recommendations from the State Health Secretariat.

For Dias Toffoli, given the seriousness of the situation experienced by the entire population, it is necessary to take coordinated measures aimed at the common good, always respecting the constitutional competence of each entity of the Federation. "However, in this case, the State could not impose such restriction to the opening of companies to which the federal legislation authorized the operation, without restrictions on hours, especially when it does without the support of any technical study.

According to the Chief Justice, the federal decree that regulated Law No. 13,979/20 - which provides for measures to address this public health emergency - when referring to public services and essential activities, included the production, distribution, marketing and delivery carried out in person or through electronic commerce, of health products, hygiene, food and beverages.

"Thus, there is no federal regulation that regulates the hypothesis, provision for restrictions to the operation of this type of trade, between 19h and 6h of the following day, to fall on those who use an artificial system of air circulation, prohibition, even, which extends to the very opening of these stores, on Sundays and holidays," reinforced the Chief Justice of the STF, when analyzing the Security Suspension (SS) 5365.

Regarding the allegation that there may be a risk of injury to public health, Toffoli stated that the applicant did not explain in the file how this full operation of certain commercial establishments could cause such risk. "As further decided by this Court, the hypothetical or potential risk of serious harm to the public interest is not sufficient to grant the application for suspension.

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Communication Office of the Presidency - CG/FB/GL

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