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The Minister of the Interior Mart Helme: the alcohol sales conditions will be harmonised to protect the nation’s health and sense of security

18. March 2020 - 12:44
Mart Helme
Mart Helme

The government today prohibited the sale of alcohol from 10 p.m. to 10 a.m. The sale of alcohol will not be entirely banned. The restriction on sales will apply until the end of the emergency situation or the government decision to lift the restriction earlier.

The Minister of the Interior Mart Helme stated that the sale of alcohol will not be prohibited, instead, the alcohol sales conditions will be harmonised to those applying to food stores. “It means that people cannot buy alcohol, for instance, in restaurants, pubs, bars and other catering and accommodation facilities from ten in the evening to ten in the morning,” he explained.

The minister stressed that in the given precarious situation, people must not gather together, however, the sale of alcohol in public places may encourage it. “It is also important to consider that people now tend to have more time to spend with each other and gather in public places,” Helme stated.

“Gatherings in public places can also easily escalate. In other words, the current stressful times may increase the quantities of alcohol consumed which, in turn, may increase the number of violations and thus also the workload of the police,” the minister added.

“Alcohol has a harmful effect on people’s health and can make intoxicated people behave in a way that can endanger other people’s health and property,” the minister said. “Let’s hope that with the given restriction the number of emergency calls to the police and ambulance will decrease or at least remain stable. This way we can channel our resources more into solving the situations caused by coronavirus,” Helme noted.

The restriction will help to prevent various cases related with alcohol abuse, such as committing various offences, causing bodily harm or damaging other people’s or state property as well as causing traffic accidents due to drunk driving.

The restriction will not apply to watercrafts or aircrafts used for international carriage of passengers and points of sale at international airports and in security restricted areas in harbours.

The violation of the restrictions or prohibitions applying to the retail sale of alcoholic beverages is punishable by a fine up to 300 fine units. The same act, committed by a legal person, is punishable by a fine up to 5000 euros.