No more coffee to go: Czech Republic bans sale of all take-away beverages

"This is no error," Czech Health Minister Jan Blatný told journalists, though confusion over how restaurants will handle the new measure remains

ČTK

Written by ČTK
Published on 12.12.2020 09:31 (updated on 12.12.2020)

The Czech Republic has now banned the take-away sale of all beverages intended to be consumed on the go, including coffee and tea, Health Minister Jan Blatný confirmed to journalists on Friday.

Previously, only the sale of alcoholic beverages to go was prohibited.

Despite Blatný's official confirmation, there remains some confusion over how cafés will handle the new measure. Some in the center of Prague have reportedly met the regulation by selling coffee to go within a paper bag, reminiscent of the sale of alcoholic beverages in the United States.

The official wording of the new measure states that "it shall be prohibited to sell bottled or locally-prepared beverages for immediate consumption in the case of sale from a catering establishment to a customer outside its internal premises (e.g. a dispensing window)".

Customers must now consume all drinks directly in the establishment in which they were purchased, Blatný told journalists on Friday.

The measure is intended to prevent people from strolling in the streets and in Christmas markets with plastic cups containing food or drinks.

"This is no error. People should not stroll through Christmas markets and streets with plastic cups and food," Blatný said.

Blatný argued that by selling food and drink to go in this manner, restaurants were selling drinks that would have otherwise been sold by street vendors at Christmas markets. But the sale and consumption of food and drink at markets has been banned.

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The measure does not cover drive-in sales, Blatný said.

He said earlier the measure was created to limit the consumption of alcohol in public.

On Thursday, the Czech government mistakenly banned the sale of all drinks for immediate consumption within restaurants and pubs.

The Interior Ministry later stated that this was due to a printing error, which it corrected.