Street drinking fine goes up

There are many places in the city where alcohol use is not allowed

The fine for drinking alcohol in public in areas of Prague doubled as of July 1. Drinking on some Prague streets has been illegal since 2008. Most of the areas affected are in the touristy center in Prague 1, and also in Prague 4 and 8.

The fine is now Kč 10,000 and can be paid on the spot. This results from a change to the law governing misdemeanors.

The list of places where drinking on the street is prohibited now has more than 800 locations including streets, squares, business centers, parks and courtyards. The ban applies to all schools, hospitals, playgrounds, bus stops and their surroundings. Further tightening of the restrictions are being prepared.

The ban is intended to curb noisy and obnoxious tourists and residents as well as the homeless in the city center and other areas who walk around or sit on the sidewalk and drink alcohol, such as box wine, beer or liquor from a bottle. It does not affect restaurant gardens or sidewalk seating, where the establishments have a permit for using an enclosed area of the sidewalk.

More changes to the prohibition should become effective in the fall, and are currently being prepared. City Hall spokesman Vít Hofman told daily Pražský deník that the relevant city statute will be streamlined to make it easier to enforce. Not only will drinking in the restricted areas be forbidden, but carrying an open container while moving on the street will also be banned.

Some stores are expected to stop opening bottles of beer for customers are a result. Pubs are also expected to take some action to keep patrons who now have to go out on the sidewalk to smoke from taking glasses of beer with them to the street.

The prohibition already applies to the area around Dlouhá třída, and there are signs on lamp poles to inform people. In other locations there are no signs, but the lack of signs cannot be used as an excuse if someone is caught with an open container.

A Google map of all of the locations can be found here.

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