Tallinn's War on Alcohol to Begin in March ({{commentsTotal}})

The first of two bills aimed at limiting alcohol consumption in Tallinn will take effect on March 1 next year, if the draft law is passed by the city's government.

The first bill will ban alcohol sales in shops in the city on Sunday and limit sales in restaurants and bars from Sunday midnight to Monday morning.

The city said the bill will send a message to people that alcohol is not an essential commodity and is not part of a healthy lifestyle. If the Tallinn city council votes in favor - which it is expected to do - the ban will begin on March 1, the day of the national elections.

A second bill is also in the works, and if passed, would require stores which sell hard liquor to be at least 150 square meters in size, instead of the current 75 square meters.

The ban on alcohol sales in a 300-meter radius of schools and kindergartens has been cut down to 50 meters, as it would have meant a completely alcohol-free city center.

The second bill, which would take effect on July 1, could also ban all alcohols sales in gas stations and limit sales of alcohol in sporting events to certain areas.

Critics say the drive could hurt the tourism industry or lead to people hording more alcohol.

Traders association: Tallinn has no legal right to implement a time ban

Estonian Traders Association said that banning alcohol sales on Sundays presumes a thorough impact analysis. The association wants the city council to provide them with the full text of the proposed bill and the results of the studies that determine whether such a ban is really a necessary and the most suitable way to curb alcohol consumption.

Marika Merilai, the managing director of the traders association, said that in their opinion, the city council has no legal right to limit alcohol sales on Sundays.

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