We are providing pro bono legal assistance to the Latvian Association of Beauticians and Cosmetologists. On 8 March 2021, the Association applied to the administrative court concerning Cabinet Regulation No. 655, “Regarding Declaration of the Emergency Situation”. In this order, the Cabinet prohibits the provision of beauty care services by beauticians and beauty care specialists in cosmetology or healthcare practitioners who are registered in the Register of Healthcare Practitioners.
On 11 March 2021, the Administrative District Court accepted the Association’s application and initiated a case by inviting the Cabinet as the respondent on behalf of the Republic of Latvia, and by obligating the Cabinet to submit explanations to the application within a month. If the court rules in favour of the Association’s application to revoke the order, healthcare specialists who are registered in the Register of Healthcare Practitioners will be allowed to provide beauty care services. As well as this, the court accepted a request to issue an interim regulation: to suspend the aforementioned prohibition until the court judgement. The court will review the request to suspend the prohibition on 8 April 2021.
The application states that beauticians and beauty care specialists should be allowed to work in cosmetology, not only at health care institutions but also at private companies or individually. On the other hand, the Cabinet order allows these persons to provide services when they work at a healthcare institution. However, members of the Association and healthcare specialists with the same qualifications who provide identical services with equivalent hygiene requirements outside a healthcare institution are prohibited from working. Therefore, an unequal situation and unfair competition has been created in the market among healthcare specialists with the same qualifications.
This prohibition has been in force since 6 November 2020, and so amounts to as many as 14 weeks of a total ban on service provision. Such a prohibition not only distorts competition but also restricts (and even in essence denies) people’s fundamental rights, and violates the principles of equality and proportionality.
The Association submitted a request to the administrative court to revoke the part of the Cabinet’s order that prohibited healthcare specialists registered in the Register of Healthcare Practitioners from providing beauty care services. This means the application is actually asking for permission to work for all specialists, instead of only those who work at healthcare institutions.