Prague seeks to ban alcohol on streets across the center

The ban on open beer and liquor may be extended throughout Prague 1 and 2

Prague is considering a ban on moving around the monument zone in the city center with open containers of alcohol. An amendment should be discussed by City Hall next week. Specific details have not been revealed.

Having open containers of alcohol has long been banned on certain streets but not throughout the entire center. Complaints about noise and other problems have increased since the introduction of anti-smoking laws, which have put more people on the street with alcohol.

The amendment would not affect fenced-off outdoor gardens in front of bars or restaurants.

Next week, the decree should go into the commentary process, where it will be possible to comment on the provisions. Individual city districts will also have input, said City spokesman Vít Hofman said. “If everything goes well, we could discuss the amendment during the autumn,” he told daily Pražský deník.

The Prague 1 and 2 districts are in favor of the amendment. “We fully agree with this proposal,” Prague 1 spokesman Veronika Blažková.

Part of Prague 2 is also in the monument reserve. Prague 2 Deputy Mayor Martin Víšek said that when the idea was first proposed last year, the district was in favor of a flat ban across the entire district. He added that there would be only a few exceptions like Rašínovo nábřeží and Riegrovy sady.

The Czech Pirates disagree with the ban. City Councilor Mikuláš Ferjenčík told Pražský deník the ban was already too strict. He criticized, for example, that the ban already extends to Petřín.

He claimed the ban was used by police to bully people. Rather than extending the ban, he would like to see fewer places included, but better and more consistent enforcement.

Elections bring proposals such as this ban so politicians can appear to be doing something, even if the proposals are not practical, he added. Prague will be having municipal elections in 2018.

Václav Novotný, head of the TOP 09 club and the independents in City Hall, said the amendment is only partly finished and the head of the department drafting it has not yet met with the mayor. “I very much doubt it will go into the commentary process next week,” he said.

The Czech Republic has the highest beer consumption per capita in the world, The country has held that position for as long as the independent Czech Republic has existed. Research by Japanese beer firm Kirin using 2015 figures showed Czechs drink 142.4 liters each per year. Tourism helps to contribute to the numbers.

Europe and the former Soviet states lead the world in overall alcohol consumption, based on the amount of pure alcohol in spirits, wine, beer and other beverages. World Health Organization statistics, reported by Radio Free Europe, show that Lithuania comes out on top at 18.2 liters of alcohol per person every year. Belarus, Russia and Moldova also come ahead of the Czech Republic, which ties with Romania at 13.7 liters per person. South Korea is the highest scoring non-European country at 11.9 liters.

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