No smoking in bars and restaurants creates tensions over the weekend.
Nightlife in Prague over the weekend became more hectic in the wake of Prague’s new anti-smoking law. The ban, as many predicted, meant more smokers were hanging out on the streets, rather than in the bars. As the night got later, many were increasingly intoxicated, and the streets were louder and more chaotic than usual.
The increase in noise and complaints was especially true in the areas around Prague that are more popular for going out in, such as in Prague’s center. Dlouhá třída, a street populated with bars, was especially noted for having issues on Friday night. Noise, as well as people refusing to clear the street when the noise was too much.
Prague has quiet hours after 22:00, so causing excessive noise on the streets at night is against the law. People congregating on the streets doesn’t just make life difficult for residents in the area. Bar workers and police have to deal with the inebriated individuals on the street to ensure peace safety.
While it is everyone’s individual responsibility to abide by the law, it is important to acknowledge the inherent realities of the new situation. If people must go outside to smoke, there will be more noise outside late at night. Besides the noise, there are concerns about fighting and littering outside bars as well. This could be especially true now that tourist season has picked up, and there are more people coming to party.
“On [Friday’s] night shift, operators have received more than 100 notifications of night-time interruptions, of which about 60 related to pubs, restaurants, and bars,” said police spokeswoman Irena Seifertová.
Some bars are struggling to adapt to the new laws, and still permit smoking in their establishments. While these bars may still have to stop permitting smoking in the future, for now, people can still smoke in bars that will allow it. Of course, this is still against the law. When speaking to one establishment still allowing patrons to smoke indoors, they did not seem worried about any potential affects, saying that it would be fine.