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Old Town mayor halts lights out initative in Bratislava

Bratislavans protested against a resolution forcing restaurants and pubs in Bratislava’s Old Town to close at 22:00.

(Source: Sme)

Bratislava’s Old Town Mayor Radoslav Števčík will in the end not sign a resolution forcing restaurants, bars and pubs in the Old Town to close every evening at 22:00. The local councillors at their session on September 20 approved a so-called generally binding regulation (VZN) with this decision.

Števčík justified his decision on a legal analysis that was swiftly carried out on this matter. The Old Town mayor claims that according to it, some parts of the regulations are beyond the powers of the municipality, or not in line with certain laws.

“I believe that it’s in the interest of councillors, the public, and in my personal interest that we adopt laws that will fully comply with the statutes and which respect powers that we are granted by the law,” he said at a press conference on September 21 as cited by the TASR newswire.

But Števčík acknowledged efforts of those councillors who prepared the resolution and submitted it for approval with the aim of protecting citizens of Old Town from noise and disturbances.

“We were elected by citizens and not tourists or visitors of the city,” said Števčík. “This is why we have to secure public order and night time peace.”

The Old Town mayor believes that in terms of the public order it is also the municipal and ordinary police which fail to secure public order in Old Town.

The regulation

The regulation adopted by the Old Town councillors on September 20 stipulates that businesses, except those meeting special technical requirements, would be able to be open only until 22:00 as of October 10. Those meeting the requirements such as not having opening windows and shop windows, firm double doors or functional air conditioning, would have been able to be open until midnight during weekdays and until 1:00 during weekends. Restaurants and pubs in cellars would have been able to be open until 5:00.

However, already now there is legal chaos concerning until when pubs, restaurants and bars in Old Town can be open. In June, the Supreme Court cancelled an earlier Old Town regulation which consisted also of exemptions for longer opening hours of pubs, restaurants and bars. Based on this verdict the Old Town is no longer able to grant exemptions for longer opening hours. Yet lawyers differ as to whether this applies also to previously granted exemptions.

Owners of pubs and restaurants protest

The regulation has caused protests among owners of restaurants and pubs as well as Bratislavans claiming that the resolution would damage night life in Old Town.

Branislav Filipovič, owner of a downtown restaurant, claims that the closing of bars at 22:00 would have a catastrophic impact on them.

“We appreciate that the mayor did not sign the regulation that has outraged all of us,” said Filipovič. “We’d appreciate it if a discussion with councillors, mayors and vice-mayors is organised regarding this issue.”

Also the Bratislava Tourist Board dealt with the controversial regulation claiming that it would have a liquidating impact on a significant number of pubs and restaurants in Old Town. That would certainly affect the development of tourism in the city.

Negotiations about the closing hours of pubs and restaurants in the Old Town will continue in October and a new regulation should be adopted.

Topic: Bratislava


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