TALLINN – The Estonian government on Thursday approved a nationwide ban on night-time alcohol sales, which will enter into force at midnight between September 25 and 26.
The ban on night-time alcohol sales will be in force from midnight until 10 a.m. in all places that sell alcohol for on-site consumption, such as bars, nightclubs, restaurants, theater buffets or hotels, government spokespeople said.
The restriction will remain in force until October 24 and the government will assess the need to continue with it a week before the restriction expires. Due to the nationwide restriction to be imposed by the government, the regional bans on the sale of alcohol imposed by the Police and Border Guard Board will end at midnight between September 25 and 26.
"There has been a sharp increase in the spread of COVID-19 infection in Estonia and therefore it is necessary and justified to reestablish a national restriction," Prime Minister Juri Ratas said. "As we have seen, the coronavirus spreads particularly well at parties. Unfortunately, alcohol consumption affects people's behavior in a way that promotes the spread of the virus. In this regard, I call on people not to give new opportunities to the spread of the virus through their risky behavior, either in public or at a private party."
According to the Health Board, as of September 17, the incidence per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days is 25.36. By comparison, the same indicator was 4.4 on August 1 and 8.4 on August 15. The increase in the spread of the infection is to a significant extent caused by the outbreaks of infection that started in the bars of Tartu and Ida-Virumaa counties. At present, no new cases of infection have been registered in the last 14 days only in Jarva, Valga, Polva and Hiiu counties. In addition, 31 new infected people have been registered during the last 14 days, whose place of residence has not yet been determined with the accuracy of the local government unit.
The government was guided by the support of the anti-COVID-19 research council in imposing the nationwide restriction on alcohol sales.
The local government must supervise compliance with the restriction on the sale of alcohol.