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The ombudsman has received complaints about restricted access to ATMs in supermarkets

Ombudsman Juris Jansons has received complaints from residents who do not have a Covid-19 certificate about restricted access to ATMs located in large shopping centers.

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The order of the Cabinet of Ministers (CM) of 9 October this year “On the declaration of a state of emergency” stipulates that shopping centers with a total public space of more than 1,500 square meters may provide trade services only in an epidemiologically safe environment. Accordingly, citizens without valid Covid-19 certificates cannot access the ATM cash withdrawal service.

Jansons has observed that ATMs, which are often available in populated areas, are located only in large shopping malls, do not have a branch of a credit institution, or have to wait several days to withdraw money at a branch of a credit institution. Citizens have limited opportunities to make daily payments, as it is not always possible to pay for a product or service in the form of a non-cash payment.

The Ombudsman calls on the Cabinet of Ministers to assess the need to take measures to ensure that unvaccinated residents have access to ATMs located in the premises of large shopping centers. In his view, such a restriction also constitutes a disproportionate restriction on the right to property and is contrary to the Emergency Order, which provides that financial services may be obtained without the presentation of a Covid-19 certificate.

In addition, the Ombudsman calls for an assessment of whether the population’s access to other essential services, such as the purchase of medicines, access to GP practices, and telecommunications services, is not disproportionately restricted in any locality. This is especially true in areas where such services are only available in large shopping centers.

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