The Moscow authorities heard the long-standing request of restaurateurs and as an experiment lifted the ban on the sale of alcohol on the summer verandas of cafes and restaurants that existed in the capital since 1995. It was impossible to sell alcohol to customers sitting outdoors at the tables of catering establishments, even if the owners had the appropriate license.
However, despite these restrictions, in the warm season, many cafes and restaurants offered weak alcohol to take away – beer, red and white wine, cocktails with a strength of up to 16.5 degrees. This was done under the threat of a fine, reaching up to 100-150 thousand rubles, and the loss of a license.
“It was casuistry”
It was decided to conduct an experiment on the liberalization of the sale of weak alcohol in seasonal cafes at stationary public catering establishments, subject to the compliance of the place where the sale of low-alcohol drinks is carried out with the requirements and restrictions established by Federal Law 171 “On state regulation of the production and circulation of ethyl alcohol of alcoholic and alcohol-containing products and on limiting consumption (drinking) of alcoholic products. This is stated in the relevant resolution of the Government of Moscow.
The experiment does not apply to territories adjacent to various medical organizations. On the other hand, the sale of alcohol will be allowed in museums and leisure-type institutions with concert halls subordinate to the Department of Culture of Moscow (but not in federal ones), as well as in sports facilities.
Tellingly, it was decided to delete federal museums from the list of places where you can have a light drink, remembering how a few years ago a visitor to the Tretyakov Gallery, not without the influence of alcohol vapors drunk in a buffet, damaged Ilya Repin’s painting “Ivan the Terrible and his son Ivan on November 16, 1581”, also known as “Ivan the Terrible kills his son”.
Meanwhile, the owners of Moscow cafes and restaurants, as well as representatives of the expert community, are grateful that the Sword of Damocles no longer hangs over their heads and consider the decision of the capital’s authorities long overdue.
“It was casuistry. In order to drink a glass of wine at a table on the street, one had to go to a restaurant, take a glass, pay for it and go outside with a glass. And the sale of alcohol on the summer verandas took place semi-informally, and for this they could be fined. They could even revoke the license of the restaurant,” Alexey Vasilchuk, co-owner of the Russian chain of restaurants Chaikhana No. 1 and co-owner of the DEPO food mall, commented to Expert on the decision of the city authorities.
According to him, Moscow restaurateurs have long been asking the city government to meet them: “That was our request. And now everything has been done openly and correctly from the point of view of the “regulators”. However, it must be admitted that the Moscow authorities often turned a blind eye to the fact that the waiters brought glasses of alcohol directly to the tables set in the fresh air.
Restaurateurs scammed out of money
“Of course, on the summer verandas of restaurants that had a normal license, alcohol was sold. Especially on the most veranda streets. For example, such as Kamergersky, Bolshaya Dmitrovka,” noted consumer market expert Marina Petrukhina.
She added that now the Moscow authorities are going on an experiment to liberalize weak alcohol, including because of the changed structure of alcohol consumption.
“Today, the consumer prefers wine more. We have adopted a law on viticulture, winemaking is developing very successfully, Russian wine is becoming a trend. At the same time, even under the sanctions, none of the world’s winemakers refused to supply us. Therefore, strong alcohol faded into the background, ”Marina Petrukhina emphasized in a conversation with an Expert correspondent.
The head of the Association of Restaurateurs and Hoteliers of Russia, Igor Bukharov, explained to “Expert” the practice that has existed so far with the sale of alcohol on summer verandas as a “legal collision”. “When you get a license, it is given under the BTI plan, which includes part of the leased building. The summer playground is not included in the BTI plan. But there have always been summer playgrounds. Some non-governmental organizations for the protection of consumer rights, using a legal conflict, came and said that, they say, people drink in a public place, and they lured money out of threats,” he said.
Further, according to Igor Bukharov, the restaurateurs plan to enter into a dialogue with the Federal Alcohol Regulation Agency, in order to amend 171 Federal Laws. So far, the legal concept of “summer playground” does not exist. As for federal museums, the expert believes that these cultural institutions simply do not understand their benefits.
“They live on subsidies, although they must learn to earn. Make interesting exhibitions. If some event is taking place, why not take and buy champagne or light wine? This is not a conversation about vodka,” said Igor Bukharov. “And are there many people who want to come, get drunk and damage the picture?” Just museum workers argue like this: “no matter what happens.” But for some reason, European museums have restaurants, but we don’t. Alcohol is not sold in the halls where the paintings are. Our attitude is too hypocritical. The world has changed. And there have always been outcasts.”