Bas-Rhin: Legal Victory Against Wearing a Mask, “An Immediate Attack on the Freedom to Come and Go”

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Bas-Rhin: Legal victory against wearing a mask, "An immediate attack on the freedom to come and go" Pixabay

The prefectural decree imposing the general wearing of a mask outside has been challenged by the courts in the Bas-Rhin

The prefectural decree imposing the general wearing of a mask outside has been challenged by the courts. The hospital psychologist Vincent Feireisen and the doctor Christian Chartier, two citizens of Strasbourg, had seized the administrative court of Strasbourg of an interim relief procedure aimed at annulling the prefectural decree which imposes the wearing of a mask outside in the towns of more than 10,000 inhabitants of Bas-Rhin.

The court ruled on the 2nd September ordering the prefect to issue a new decree which includes the following elements:

Article 1: t is directed to the prefect of the Bas-Rhin to issue a new decree excluding from the compulsory wearing of the mask locations municipalities affected by its order of 28 August 2020 and the time periods that are not characterized by a high population density or by local circumstances likely to favor the spread of covid-19, no later than Monday, September 7, 2020 at 12 noon.

Article 2: If the Prefect of Bas-Rhin has not taken the measures provided for in article 1 of this ordinance, the execution of her decree of August 28, 2020 will be automatically suspended from the aforementioned deadline.

Article 3: The State will pay MM. and the sum of 1,000 euros (one thousand euros) under article L.761-1 of the code of administrative justice.

The judge made a point of recalling that the current text covers a period of 33 days, and above all that it applies all day long and throughout the territory of the 13 municipalities concerned. The prefect of the Lower Rhine, in which the absolute nature of his order was opposite the bar, provided no justification on this point, while the abovementioned provisions of Article 1 st of the Decree of 10 July 2020 permit only the State representative to make the wearing of the mask compulsory when local circumstances require it.

The circumstances and the documents in the file do not make it possible to assess that there would be permanently and on all the communal bans concerned a high concentration of population or particular circumstances likely to contribute to the expansion of covid-19.

Vincent Feireisen declares ” we are not at all anti-mask ” but he underlines the disproportionate nature of this decree. Their press release of September 2 soberly reproduced the result of the ordinance.

“This now constitutes a useful reference in terms of the protection of freedoms and the protection of health. “

As citizens , they called on the Prefect of the Bas Rhin to get closer to the mayors of the cities concerned, in order to define with our elected officials the times and places where wearing a mask outside will constitute an additional tool of protection. against the epidemic, in association with the essential barrier gestures. However, they hope that the new decree will respect the principle of proportionality, in order to allow each of us spaces dedicated to breathing, essential, including for the most vulnerable, in the current social and psychological context.

Finally, as health professionals, they ask the Prefect and the mayors of the cities concerned, to highlight prevention and not repression.

In a society of health democracy, adherence to barrier gestures should not be obtained by fear of punishment or indoctrination, otherwise at the risk of missing the desired goal: health protection.


A source close to the file tells us that the Prefect would have justified her decision on the grounds that there had been 5 hospitalizations, without having information on the profile of the patients.

This same source mentions that the Prefect would have obtained this information from the local ARS and would have acted in the name of the precautionary principle. We recall that the director of the ARS Ms Desailly Chanson is close to the Minister of Health Mr Véran and the Director-General of Health Mr Salomon and replaced Mr Lannelongue, sacked in April 2020.

According to this source, the decision to evict Mr Lannelongue would be linked more to the fact that the latter had ordered masks in March against the opinion of the minister than to the declaration on the reduction in the number of beds in Nancy hospitals.

This decision is the second after those pronounced against the mayor of Grans in the Bouches du Rhône. The latter had been condemned by the administrative court for infringement of public freedom to follow up on his decree making the wearing of a mask compulsory in certain areas.

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