BERLIN — A court here Friday overturned a curfew on bar and restaurants in the capital, with Germany’s legal system playing a bigger role in deciding which restrictions states can implement to avert the spread of the coronavirus.

The ruling followed a lawsuit filed by 11 bars and clubs protesting the requirement that they close between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. It came as Germany recorded a record 7,334 new infections Thursday, with the Berlin among its high-risk zones.

The lawsuit argued that the measure would not help, claiming it would result in young people meeting at other locations where they would not abide by hygiene rules, according to local news reports.

The sale of alcohol, however, will remain restricted after 11 p.m.

“We very much welcome this decision,” Thomas Lengfelder, the managing director of the Berlin Hotel and Restaurant Association, told the German news service DPA.

He said the sector is suffering from restrictions that keep visitors from high-risk regions from staying in local hotels unless they have tested negative for the coronavirus.

“We barely have any tourists in the city,” he said.

A court in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein on Thursday turned down a challenge to the restrictions on visitors. Without them, the court argued, tourists from high-risk areas could enter the state in “uncontrolled” numbers and burden the local health-care system, according to a statement.

The measure has prompted debate among Germany’s state premiers, with some arguing that it placed an undue burden on the tourism sector and others that it could prevent a further increase in infections. The southern state of Bavaria announced Friday that it would not renew its visitor restrictions.

The Washington Post


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