Saeima committee pores over booze sale rule changes

The Social and Labor Affairs Committee of the Saeima has expressed support for legal changes that would ban the sale of alcoholic beverages on weekdays and Saturdays between the hours of 20:00 and 10:00. However, another proposal to prohibit retail alcohol sales on Sundays from 15:00 was not supported.

In order for the changes to enter into force, they must be approved by the Saeima in a second and third reading.

At the end of March, the same Committee supported proposals that would prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages to persons under 20 years of age. Currently, this age threshold is 18 years.

The committee also began to discuss the idea of ​​changing the working hours when alcohol can be sold in stores. According to the decisions of the Social and Labor Affairs Committee of the Saeima, if the law enters into force, alcohol will be available for purchase on weekdays and Saturdays only from 10:00 to 20:00, and on Sundays from 10:00 to 18:00.

The organization representing the industry of alcohol producers was ready to support a compromise on alcohol sales hours, but somewhat skeptical about how much difference they would make to peope's drinig habits.

"In our opinion, the working time limit is ineffective, because 60% of Latvian residents already have stocks of alcoholic beverages at home. In [our] survey, when asked how habits will change [after the time limit for alcohol purchases is restricted], 4% answered that they would drink less alcohol or buy less, but 18% said that they would create more reserves," said Dāvis Vītols, executive director of the Latvian Alcohol Industry Association.

After an exchange of opinions lasting more than an hour on April 9, deputies nevertheless voted that alcohol can be sold on Sundays until 18:00.

At the commission meeting, several members agreed that setting a limit on alcohol sales on Sundays already at 15:00 would be too big a step. The Ministry of Economy also indicated the impact of such a decision on turnover and budget revenues.

Six out of ten members of the committee voted for the plan to limit the sale of alcohol on Sundays to 18:00.

It should be noted that this restriction will not apply, for example, to small breweries that sell beverages on tap and where it is possible to consume them on site, and duty-free shops at ports and airports will also enjoy exemptions.

There are many more proposals still to be dealt with in the Law on the Circulation of Alcoholic Beverages, including restrictions on the sale of alcohol via the Internet. The committee will continue working through them on Wednesday, April 10.

Seen a mistake?

Select text and press Ctrl+Enter to send a suggested correction to the editor

Select text and press Report a mistake to send a suggested correction to the editor

Related articles


Most important