Economic affairs minister Taavi Aas (Center) says that he supports the city government's plan to restrcit alcohol sales in the capital's bars, nightclubs and other entertainment venues.
"I support this, and it is my belief that local authorities should still have the power to make their own decisions on these issues," Aas said.
The bill requires the sale of alcohol to end at 2 a.m. on weeknights and 3 a.m. at weekends in the case of pubs, bars and restaurants, and at 3 a.m. during the week, and 4 a.m. at weekends, for nightclubs.
This is generally about an hour earlier than closing time at present, Aas said, adding that this should have no major impact on business.
"Although I have not myself been to a nightclub or a bar for a long time now, I don't think that turnover is great for businesses at this time [of night] either. Putting business turnover against the health of a person who buying something else at this time, or consider what could happen to them when they then go home, I think that health and the peace of fellow citizens outweigh that little difference in revenue," Aas said, speaking on Wednesday morning's edition of politics show "Otse uudistemajast".
When asked whether there was a restriction on the freedoms of entrepreneurs, Aas replied that with every freedom comes an obligation.
"There can be no situation where there are only freedoms. Entrepreneurs who sell alcohol today also have certain restrictions today. Alcohol must not be sold to under eighteens. This too is, in a sense, a restriction on their freedom to conduct a business. I honestly don't think this late night business is anything which prolongs the operation of any business," Aas went on.
Ultimately he said it was down to the voters as to whether the sales restrictions were the right decision (the local elections are in October 2021-ed.).
Editor: Andrew Whyte