Could regions across Spain enforce Covid health passes after Galicia’s green light?

Could regions across Spain enforce Covid health passes after Galicia's green light?
Covid passes have been approved for use in Galicia. Photo: Andreas SOLARO / AFP
Spain's Supreme Court has authorised the obligation to show a Covid health pass in restaurants and nightlife establishments in Galicia, which reopens the possibility for the use of the pass in the rest of Spain.

The measure was agreed by the government of Galicia in the summer but was later rejected by the Superior Court of Justice of Galicia before being sent to the Supreme Court for appeal. 

The Supreme Court considers that “the benefit” provided by the measure, “with respect to the significant reduction of infections, is much higher than the sacrifice entailed by the requirement to present documentation for access to premises,” the Supreme Court said of their decision.

“The results are more suitable to safeguard the life and health of citizens, in this type of situation,” they added.

This is the same court that did not endorse the use of Covid passports in Andalusia, but the ruling clarifies that in that case, the measure that had been extended to the entire Andalusian region, applicable to the entire population, and this was not justified as it was not linked to health status and the evolution of the pandemic. 

Now, the Supreme Court reasons, there could be a small limitation of fundamental rights in favor of the fundamental right to life, the protection of health, and the “general interest of all to survive in these very serious circumstances”.

The measure is “necessary, suitable and proportionate to achieve the desired end” in places of leisure that “do not allow the constant and permanent use of the mask, which must be removed to eat and drink,” the Court stated.

It also considers that the right to equality is not violated and argues that the display of the Digital Covid Certificate “does not violate the right to equality since there is no discrimination between those who are vaccinated and those who are not”.

This means that those who do not want to show whether they have been vaccinated can also show a PCR test, an antigen test, or a recovery certificate.  

“There is an objective and reasonable justification to allow access to the corresponding establishments, depending on whether such requirement has been met, since it is about the protection of the health and life of people, through a measure that prevents or restricts the spread of the virus”, adds the Court.   

This new ruling for Galicia has now opened up the possibility for the use of the Covid health pass in the rest of the country.

The regional governments of Andalusia, the Canary Islands, and Cantabria had all previously discussed the possibility of requiring people to show Covid certificates to access certain venues. So far, their plans have been rejected by the courts, but the new ruling for Galicia could give the green light for them to try again.  

READ ALSO: Why has the Covid health pass for daily affairs been rejected in Spain and not elsewhere in Europe?

The Secretary of Public Health of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Carmen Cabezas also said on Wednesday that the ruling “opens the door for us to explore it carefully”, because “we have the obligation to study all the options, as well as this one,” indicating that this could possibly be carried out in Catalonia too.

READ ALSO: How to get a Digital Covid Certificate for travel from Spain to the EU


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