Mayors Seeking Exemption For Letna and Naplavka in Drinking Ban

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A tightening of the existing street drinking ban is being prepared to help reduce problems caused by excessive drinking by tourists. Prague 2 and Prague 7 are seeking exemptions for social drinking hotspots, Naplavka and Letna Park. 

The existing ban applies to over eight hundred sights in Prague but, as the authorities are looking to streamline legislation, the new bill is a blanket ban within the city's protected area of historical monuments. This includes not only Prague 1 but also much of areas 2,4,5,6,7 and 8. Moreover, under the new ban, it would be prohibited, not only to drink alcohol, but to carry open bottles of alcohol.

Prague 1 has long suffered the destructive effects of heavy drinking on its streets. The driving force behind the bill, the municipality hopes stricter rules on the public consumption of alcohol can reduce noise, mess and antisocial behaviour. 

"The main problem is no longer homeless people, but thousands of people, mostly tourists and visitors. They come to have fun here, and increasingly prefer to use streets, squares or parks as places of alcoholic fun." says Security Councillor, Ivan Solil.

Prague 2 are the strongest opponents of the ban, deeming it too restrictive. They argue that increasing targeted prevention measures in affected areas, like cameras and police, would be more effective in tackling the problem. However, if the decree does pass, they ask that Naplavka on the Rašín's waterfront be excluded from the ban.

"If someone buys a beer in a kiosk at the stand and comes out with it after, they would have a problem. This seems unreasonable to us," explains Martin Visek, Deputy Mayor of Prague 2. 

Similarly, Prague 7 would like Letna Park to be excluded from the ban. 

"This park is a traditional meeting place for people and leisure activities. There are various cultural and community events, and last but not least, it is also a popular picnic area. We would not want to prevent people from opening beer or wine on these occasions," says Martin Vokus, spokesman for Prague 7.

Author: Jessica Kleyn

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