Police ban Tartu County bar, nightclub and restaurant alcohol sales

A cocktail being made at a bar. Photo is illustrative.
A cocktail being made at a bar. Photo is illustrative. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Alcohol sales in entertainment establishments in Tartu County are suspended Friday night to Saturday morning in response to growing coronavirus rates there. The ban is likely to continue through the weekend and beyond. The regulation does not affect alcohol sales in stores.

The restriction follows a cabinet meeting Thursday which effectively green-lighted the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) to act.

PPA southern prefecture chief Vallo Koppel said the ban will cover various areas of entertainment, hospitality and catering in the county, primarily to both protect public health and ensure public order.

"Among other things, the restriction on the sale of alcohol at nighttime will help to reduce the number of visitors to bars, nightclubs and other institutions, which in turn leads to a reduced contacts between the sick," Koppel said.

The ban is in force from 11 p.m. on Friday, August 7 and runs to 6 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, August 8, and will continue at the same time each night until the PPA says otherwise.

At the same time, the restrictions is intended to be a short-term measure, the PPA says, and largely depends on the actions of the public; the authority will assess the situation at least once a week, it says.

The development follows an outbreak of COVID-19 centered on Tartu city which began after a carrier visited the Vabank nightclub on July 18, leading to dozens of people contracting the virus.

Cases have been recorded at several other nightspots in Tartu in the past few days, among both patrons and staff.

Alcohol sales in stores are under national law barred between 10 p.m. and 11 a.m. the next morning.

Compliance with the Tartu County law will be monitored jointly by the PPA and local government.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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