Prague to introduce ‘night mayor’

The city seeks to get effects of nightlife under control

The Prague City Council approved the composition of a new commission for a “night mayor” that will manage nightlife. It will be headed by Jan Štern. The commission will include representatives of the Prague 1 district and the Municipal Police, as well as representatives of night clubs and organizers of cultural events.

In the long-term it will try resolve how to get Prague's nightlife within reasonable limits while at the same time cultivating it. The aim is, on one hand, to regulate the negative impacts on the life of the Prague residents and, on the other, not to damage the prosperity of the city and its inhabitants, City Hall stated.

“I am glad that Prague is inspired by world cities like Amsterdam and London, and is setting up a commission for a night mayor. This will intensify cultural exchange and strengthen security in Prague’s streets at night. Prague is a modern metropolis, and it aspires to be a trendy 24-hour city,” Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib (Piurates) said in a press release.

The commission will not be trying to implement simplistic solutions. “I want to avoid simplifications and shortcuts, and I emphasize that the so-called night mayor is not the function of one person who will walk the streets at night and ask celebrating people to relax. It’s a team of people who will introduce systematic measures. It will not be a quick fix with the magic wand,” City Councilor Hana Třeštíková said.

The previous administration of Prague 1 tried patrols by security teams in the City Center, but they lacked authority and were met with negative reactions. The program was abandoned after a few months.

A more recent attempt at installing public noise meters backfired when drunken tourists tried to see how high they could make them go.

Třeštíková added that the aim of the new commission is to allow Prague visitors and residents the opportunity to entertain themselves in the evenings, as well as to support the prosperity of Prague, which depends heavily on tourism.

At the same time, it is necessary to ensure that the people of Prague can safely move around Prague during the night hours and sleep peacefully.

“A night mayor is an institute that works in many forms in many cities across Europe.

And Prague, with its vibrant nightlife and busy tourism, needs a systematic solution.

According to official statistics, tourists will spend the same number of nights per year as in Barcelona: over 18 million,” Jan Štern said. “I want to emphasize that first place must be given to the interest of those living and working in the city. We will surely be inspired by Western European capitals like Amsterdam,” he added.

Štern and Třeštíková said the team will work on a combination of immediate and long-term measures. The first steps will include an effort to increase the presence of police officers in the worst places where Prague residents cannot sleep properly.

“We are going to talk with the Municipal Police about the possibilities of improving the situation in Dlouhá Street, which has been the most problematic part of Prague in the long run,” Štern said. Dlouhá and the surrounding streets are home to a string of bars and clubs that attract young tourists and pub crawl tours.

Signs in the area pointing out that night noise is to be avoided and that drinking alcohol on the sidewalks is not allowed have had little effect.

Another measure in the foreseeable future is a decree that will allow urban areas to set closing times for businesses in select locations within their territory.

“We certainly do not intend to introduce a ‘police hour’ at 10 pm. However, it is not possible to run nonstop without restrictions in streets where the Praguers live. People need to sleep; that is a fundamental right of everyone living in the city,” Prague 1 Mayor Pavel Čižinský said.

Třeštíková said long-term solutions are needed. “One of them is the gradual natural transfer businesses with long hours from the places where the Praguers live to parts of the city where their impact is reduced to a minimum such as some brownfields and other land belonging to the capital city. Apart from the fact that nightlife disturbs the Prague people, it is also devastating for our common cultural heritage in the historical heart of the city. Drunken tourists, for example, damage historical sculptures,” Třeštíková said.

The Commission will also engage in systematic communication with representatives of night clubs and operators of major cultural events. The aim is to strengthen their self-regulation. According to the City Council, operators should invest more in staff to both silence outside guests and to reasonably regulate the pouring of alcohol to those who are already on the edge of manageability.

The long-term goal is to shift the image of the capital. It is necessary to change the environment to naturally reduce the number of tourists arriving for cheap alcohol and increase the number of those who come for monuments, culture or other interests.

This task needs to be tackled across the board through territorial development issues, culture, housing issues and regulating services like Airbnb, as well as municipal property management.

Prague City Tourism will also lead an intensive information campaign aimed at foreign tourists. Another goal is to start to expand the tourist card project and mobile application to tell foreign guests where it is best to go.

The night mayor commission will include Jan Štern, Prague 1 Councilor David Skála, Municipal Police director Eduard Šuster, Náplavka curator Jiří Sulženko, MeetFactory dramaturge Michal Brenner,Festas festival executive director Marek Vohralík, Roxy manager Jaroslav Stanko, city culture and travel director František Cipro and Pirate party representative Magdalena Valdmanová.

Jan Štern is one of the authors of the idea to create a team for nightlife. He is a co-founder and operator of the Containall and Stalin cultural centers and has long-term experience with cultural events and with bar and club operators. He also has experience from the state administration in the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Within City Hall he is part of the team of Councilor Hana Třeštíková.

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