Ossinovski: Banning sale of alcohol on Sundays a ‘risky idea’ (5)
According to Minister of Health and Labor Jevgeni Ossinovski (SDE), the idea to ban selling alcoholic beverages on Sundays is a risky idea, as it might work in favor of the black market.
In an interview with daily Postimees published on Wednesday, Ossinovski said that from the point of view of alcohol policy, banning the sale of alcohol on Sundays might be a good idea, but that it couldn’t be done without further analysis.
“There are about 60,000 people addicted to alcohol in Estonia. If you ban the sale of alcohol for 24 hours, a nice result would be if they didn’t drink for 24 hours, but I’m not quite sure that’s the way it would go,” Ossinovski told the paper.
Such a ban could bring back the alkotaksod, the “booze taxis” that were a temporary phenomenon when Tallinn limited the sale of alcohol for a few years. What happened was that the measure was circumvented by taxi drivers, who either took people just beyond the city limits to go shopping, or who sold alcoholic beverages out of the back of their cars.
In Estonia, the sale of alcoholic beverages is not allowed between 10 p.m. and 10 a.m. The legal age for the purchase of alcohol and cigarettes is 18, and the law allows shops to ask young people for identification if a cashier isn’t reasonably sure that a customer is of legal age.
In the interview, Ossinovski also pointed out that gas stations were one of the places where enforcing the law was the most difficult, as they were open 24 hours a day, and did not have a separate section for alcoholic drinks they could separate from the rest of the shop.