Komisija vienojas ierobežot alkohola tirdzniecību internetā

'Impulse buying' booze online could be restricted in Latvia

A proposal by the Ministry of Health and medical experts to ban alcohol sales on the Internet did not win the support of the majority of the committee in charge on Wednesday, April 10. Instead, MPs agreed on a compromise that would exclude impulse purchases of alcoholic beverages over the Internet, Latvian Television reported on April 11.

It is planned that alcohol bought on the internet will be delivered no sooner than six hours after ordering. This and other proposals already endorsed by the Saeima Social and Labor Affairs Committee will still have to be voted on by the Saeima.

Internet sales of alcohol were introduced in Latvia during the Covid-19 pandemic. Artjoms Uršuļskis (New Unity), Parliamentary Secretary at the Ministry of Health, told the Saeima Committee that this had had an impact both on the increase in consumption and on changing people's habits.

"It is a very convenient way for consumers to buy alcohol. Nowadays, it is possible to order and receive alcohol in a very short time without leaving the sofa," Uršuļskis said.

This is why the Ministry and medical experts called on MPs to ban distance selling to natural persons.

Meanwhile, Pēteris Liniņš, Chairman of the Board of the Latvian Brewers' Association, said he had not heard any examples or statistics to prove that internet sales have contributed to alcohol consumption in general. 

MPs also disagreed and the idea of banning the sale of alcohol on the internet did not win majority support.

However, MPs were determined to curb impulse buying of alcohol on the internet. The compromise is that there should be a minimum of six hours from ordering to delivery, thus ruling out fast deliveries.

Next week, the committee will continue its work on the idea of banning the purchase and sale of alcohol in petrol stations and their premises.

A proposal to raise the age limit for the purchase of alcoholic drinks has already received support from the committee. The proposal to shorten the period of sale of alcohol was also supported.

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