Tallinn to limit nighttime alcohol sales starting next fall

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

Tallinn City Council decided on Thursday to restrict the sale of alcohol at recreational establishments in the capital late at night and in the early hours of the morning starting from September 1, 2021.

The sale of alcoholic beverages in bars, pubs and other similar establishments will be prohibited between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. on business days and between 3 a.m. and 7 a.m. on weekends.

The ban takes effect one hour later for casinos and nightclubs, where the sale of alcohol will be stopped from 3 to 6 a.m. on business days and from 4 to 7 a.m. on weekend days.

The restriction will not apply to the foyer bars of accommodation establishments, such as hotels, and sales points situated in areas meant for passengers only at airports and passenger ports serving international traffic.

The restrictions also will not apply on the night of January 1 (New Year's Day), February 25 (the night after Independence Day) and June 24 (Jaanipäev).

Chairman of the council Tiit Terik (Center) said the topic has been discussed in Tallinn for years.

"This is definitely not a random idea of politicians, that someone had an idea one morning and it was decided to start bannings things right away. Such plans are made based on police statistics and recommendations of the police, and the expectations of the people who live in the neighborhood of these establishments," Terik said.

He added discussions have been taken place with various target groups, roundtables have been held, opinions have been asked from various organizations, business operators, and the councils of the city districts have expressed their opinions as well. 

"In Tallinn the discussion arose primarily from the fact that the patrons of bars, pubs and other similar establishments open until the morning disturb residents of nearby areas at night, quite often passers-by fall victim to drunken patrons' rowdy behavior. Just recently we had a tragic case in Lasnamae where a young man was murdered in the course of a quarrel," Terik said.

He noted that an additional consideration was the need to not have drunken people on the streets in the morning, when parents take their children to kindergarten and pupils go to school.

"I do not believe that situations like this reflect our society's values, and still less an environment that we wish to live in," the chairman of the council said. 

Opposition politicians thinks situations should be solved on a case-by-case basis

Kristen Michal (Reform) said. "In my opinion, we should vigorously and swiftly address those who violate the rules, public order, or silent hours."

He said that the explanatory remarks added to the draft list a limited number of companies as posing a problem, which are less than 10. 

Michal said: "Restricting law-abiding establishments in an economic situation already undermined by the crisis, given that the city has not done its job, is, in fact, a political distraction.

"Second, Tallinn could establish the role of a night mayor in line with the practice of Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris and other cities, in order for there to be continuous, not just pre-election cooperation and discussion on how residents of the city could have quality possibilities for spending their leisure time and silent hours would be ensured simultaneously for others," he concluded.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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