Savisaar to wage war on sales of spirits

Uwe Gnadenteich
, reporter
Please note that the article is more than five years old and belongs to our archive. We do not update the content of the archives, so it may be necessary to consult newer sources.
Photo: Elmo Riig / Sakala

Tallinn health coalition headed by Mayor of Tallinn Edgar Savisaar has tasked Tallinn city government headed by Edgar Savisaar with substantially restricting availability of alcohol in Tallinn.

«Tallinn health coalition was created in 2007 and it entails Tallinn vice mayors, city district elders, heads of agencies, city council chairman, and representatives of universities, entrepreneurs and health protectors. It is led by the Mayor of Tallinn,» explained vice mayor Merike Martinson.

According to Ms Martinson, excessive consumption of alcohol has been a problem in Estonia for years, but thus far nothing has been done against it. On state level, all they have done is ban sales of booze starting 10 pm.

«The fastest measure to cut use is limiting availability. Explanatory work takes time, but restricting availability would be most effective,» said Ms Martinson.

To that end, the coalition brought several proposals. «Firstly, we need to limit sales of alcohol on Sundays. Secondly, sales of alcohol needs to be banned near child care institutions. Also, we advise that entertainment institutions selling alcohol close doors latest by midnight on Sundays,» listed Ms Martinson, citing the proposals approved this Tuesday.  

While the day before yesterday it was stated alcohol sales ought to be banned within a 300 metre radius of child care institutions, Ms Martinson was not too sure the morning after. «We have had time to discuss the 300 m limit in city government and this, naturally, is pretty strict. But, as an example, the French Lyceum’s headmaster Lauri Leesi has repeatedly said the Tõnismäe alcohol store bothers the school being mere 50 metres from it,» said Ms Martinson and admitted that with shopping centres near schools it may not be expedient to set such severe limits.

According to Rimi retail chain communications manager Katrin Bats, all activity reducing consumption of alcohol is welcome. «Definitely, the various health campaigns also play a role. Like, this, spring, Rimi had the campaign within its health program where we asked young people to tell their stories how they have said no to alcohol,» mentioned Ms Bats.

«We expect all laws ratified will grant no competitive edge to any enterprise. Definitely, the sales limits mentioned would affect retail. Meanwhile, a ban like that may make Estonians to store alcohol in advance,» she added.

According to Comarket-managing ABC Supermarkets sales and marketing director Marge Kikas, the limitations may lead to smaller alcohol stores spawned.

«Grocery stores will remain, but the back street peddlers may appear. On Sundays, people tend to consume less alcohol so I don’t quite get the idea of it. Rules may lead to growth of black market and under-the-counter sales,» thinks Ms Kikas.


Tallinn health coalition proposes:

•    Ban sales of spirits near child care institutions.

•    On Sundays, bars etc ought to close doors at midnight, latest.