Justice Ministry Plans to End Open Container Ban (5)
A bill drafted by the ministry and introduced to Parliament would end the ban against public consumption of alcoholic beverages.
Under current law, alcohol may only be consumed in licensed establishments and events, and in private. Illimar Pärnamäe, head of the ministry's public law division, told ERR radio that within certain limits, public consumption of light alcoholic drinks will probably again be legal in the future. Drinking spirits and fortified wine in public would, however, still be prohibited.
Schools, public transport, hospitals and events geared at minors will be exceptions. Pärnamäe said if passed, the law will take effect on July 1 of next year.
The Interior Ministry said it shared the opinion of the Justice Ministry. Priit Heinsoo, head of law enforcement and criminal policy department, said people should be punished for disturbing the peace but not for "drinking beer on a park bench."
"The absolute ban is clearly not justified. If someone is sitting on a park bench in the heat of summer or on a grassy knoll, enjoying a low-alcohol beverage, then such an action should not be punishable," he said.