TALLINN - Tallinn's on again, off again alcohol restrictions appear to be on again after the city council voted to ban retail alcohol trade between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.
However the restrictions will not take effect until August 1.
The Tallinn City Council voted to take action on alcohol regulations after Harju County Governor Varner Lootsmann was overruled in his attempt to stem booze sales during the summer.
Lootsmann, who holds an office of limited power, argued that alcohol was too freely available, and contributed to juvenile crime and car accidents. Yet his plan to restrict sales was interrupted by the Estonian Government, which found he had no legal power to implement the ban. However his argument found favor with the Tallinn City Council, which is governed by the Center Party, of which Lootsmann is a member. Council members originally wanted to enforce the ban from July 1, but delayed the restrictions by a month to give stores time to prepare for the change.
The council's restrictions go even further than Lootsmann's proposal 's they will remain in effect permanently, rather than just for the summer. The restrictions are timely, with statistics showing that juvenile drinking has increased markedly in recent years. In a report by the Eesti Paevaleht newspaper, doctors working at the Tallinn Children's Hospital said 44 juveniles have been admitted for alcohol poisoning this year, some as young as 13.