Noise complaints lead to talk of pub closing times

The new anti-smoking law has led to more people out on the street at night

Prague Police have found some 1,867 violations of noise regulations in the three weeks since a smoking ban has forced smokers on the street in front of pubs and restaurants. This is an increase of 400 over the previous year.

There have also been over 1,000 complaints from the public, though not all of these have been confirmed by the police.

Most of the problems were reported in Prague 1, especially in the Dlouhá and Jakubská street areas, which are home to a large number of pubs and restaurants. Signs in the Dlouhá area in Czech and broken English urging people to be quiet after 10 pm have largely been ineffective.

Some pubs are already feeling repercussions from the situation. The Blue Light pub on Jakubská Street will close as of Aug. 31 due to the noise. The landlord declined to extend the lease for the pub because of the complaints, according to media reports earlier this month. The operator of the pub may move to a new location.

New rules, such as a mandatory closing time for pubs, have been suggested by various groups and politicians. Currently people go from one pub when it closes to another that has later hours, often in noisy groups.

Prague 2 Mayor Jana Černochová opposes harsh restrictions and says they are not in the city's long-term interest. She instead favors the option for bars to create smoking rooms that will be unattended by pub staff, so workers will not be required to enter them. This would require a change to the new anti-smoking law.

Prague 1 representatives in the meantime have said that patrols to tell people to be quiet and that drinking on the sidewalk is not allowed have been successful, despite largely negative feedback on social media and complaints that the patrols have engaged in threats of violence.

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