Seimas adopted amendments on reduction of alcohol consumption

2017-06-03, 16:39
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Seimas adopted amendments on reduction of alcohol consumption

The Seimas adopted amendments to the Law on Alcohol Control aimed at reducing the consumption and availability of alcohol. A total of 101 MPs voted in favour of the amendments, with 10 votes against and 10 abstentions. Some of the amendments will come into effect from 2018, and the rest will become effective from 2020.

Based on the amendments, from 2018 onwards, purchase of alcohol will be allowed to persons over 20 years of age. That is to say, individuals under 20 will not be allowed to possess and consume alcoholic beverages. A ban on possession of alcoholic beverages will not apply to persons over 18 in their workplace during working hours if possession of alcoholic beverages is part of their work. However, for example, undertakings, European legal persons and their branches will be prohibited from involving persons under 20 for the promotion of sale of alcoholic beverages.

As amended, the law reduces the time period during which alcohol may be sold. Selling of alcohol in shops and mass catering establishments will be allowed from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays. The time limits will not apply to catering areas serving alcoholic beverages on draught exclusively for consumption on the spot.

At the time of adoption of amendments, the Seimas supported the proposal of Artūras Skardžius, Member of the Seimas, and decided to abandon the idea of installing designated areas for alcohol consumption restricted to persons over 20 at fairs and free mass events. However, alcohol trade in both free and charged mass events and fairs will be restricted to weak alcoholic beverages with an ethyl alcohol content of up to 7.5 percent. Alcohol consumption will be forbidden during sports competitions in halls where they take place. Furthermore, a ban on trade in alcoholic beverages will be imposed on beaches.

From 2020 onwards, there will be no more non-stationary alcohol-selling outlets with municipality-issued individual licences for high season. As of the same year, alcohol trade will be banned in pavilions, defined as non-registered temporary constructions assembled on the spot without foundations in the ground. Pavilions will be altogether removed from the list of outlets trading in alcoholic beverages.

Participants of the Seimas sitting also supported the proposal by Ramūnas Karbauskis, MP, and Andrius Palionis, MP, to establish that a licence of indefinite duration for the retail sale of alcoholic beverages will also authorise the outlet to serve customers outdoors in catering outlets installed at a distance of no more than 40 metres from the stationary catering outlet (except where the municipal council provides for smaller distance or prohibits outdoor trade in alcoholic beverages altogether). This means that stationary cafés and restaurants may trade in alcoholic beverages outdoors without the need for any additional licence.

In accordance with the new provisions, sellers of alcoholic beverages are entitled and, in the case of doubt that a customer’s age is under 25, obliged to request customers to show the personal identity document.

The new amendments also prohibit the advertising of alcohol, with the exception of areas of trade in alcoholic beverages and other exceptional cases.

The Seimas did not prohibit natural persons from transporting and/or storing alcoholic products in visible packaging in public places other than outlets for trade in alcoholic beverages.


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