Culture & Society Czech Republic News

Prague city centre moves to ban alcohol consumption in public spaces

prague-city-centre

Prague, Czech Republic – Drinking alcohol in public at night could soon be banned or more strictly regulated in Prague’s city centre, local authorities announced.

The municipal council of Prague 1 is working on a draft text that would significantly restrict alcohol consumption in public spaces, banning it from 10 pm to 6 am every night.

Local councilors are also examining the possibility of introducing a ban on staying in public spaces with an open bottle/container of any type of alcohol beverage.

“In bars and front gardens, all decent residents and tourists could continue to consume beer and other beverages,” Prague 1 mayor Petr Hejma said in a statement. “They certainly do not need to drink alcohol on the street and disturb the neighbours.”

The decree was approved last week by Prague 1 officials and has now been sent to the City of Prague for final approval.

The Czech capital has long earned a reputation as a top alcoho-tourism destination, attracting droves of foreign tourists lured by low alcohol prices and a relatively permissive behaviour from authorities.

Prague’s city centre, including around Dlouha street, is particularly hit by this phenomenon.

Largely depopulated by local residents and overrun by tourist bars and establishments, local authorities have for years tried to address the issue, from a ban on so-called “beer bikes” to the appointment of a “night-life mayor” tasked with finding new solutions to this decades-old problem.

Drinking alcohol is already prohibited in specific streets throughout the city, but the new decree would extend the ban to the whole Prague 1.

The Covid-19 pandemic and the near-absence of tourists for months on end could also have served as a wake-up call for some, showing that a more neighbourhood-friendly and sustainable city centre was possible, including once foreign visitors returned, if appropriate measures were taken.