The city of Tartu wants to ban alcohol consumption in Pirogov Park until the end of the emergency situation. Based on public interest, the city government plans to introduce the right to ban the activity in the symbolic place for students at other times.
Currently, Tartu has an agreement with students that from March 15 to October 15, students can enjoy the park publicly during the day time.
During the emergency situation, city officials have noticed the tendency of students to gather in the park. To limit the spread of the coronavirus, the city wants to restore the alcohol ban until the end of the emergency situation.
The city seeks to establish the right to ban alcohol at other times as well.
"As the council's work cycle is still quite long - one month - and this public interest situation, for example, is perhaps a good example of Child Protection Day, where there are a lot of events for children in the city center, there are a lot of children in the city center at the time, it is quite logical and understandable that at the same time, alcoholic beverages are not consumed in the city center," Mayor Urmas Klaas explained.
He added there will not be a lot days where the ban would be enforced.
According to the police, there have not been many problems in Pirogov Park during the emergency situation. However, Üllar Sõmera, Head of the Prevention and Procedure Service of the Tartu Division, stated any restriction that contributes to limiting the spread of the coronavirus is necessary.
"There have been two call-outs from March 20 and April 8 where quite large groups were in the park and the police needed to the separate them," Sõmera said.
Kaarel Vanamölder, who knows the history of the Pirogov Park and students, said that banning alcohol in the symbolic place does not discourage students.
"Students are smart and there is no question at all. Rather, the city government itself may damage its reputation, implying that we do not trust you. In that sense, students do not cancel their events and they may move somewhere else," Vanamölder said.
Tartu Council will discuss the draft at an e-sitting on April 23.
Editor: Roberta Vaino