Western Ukraine loosens alcohol ban, Lviv says ‘no, thanks’

A lady walks close to the beer shelf in Pravda Beer Theater, a four-story pub situated within the heart, in Lviv, Ukraine on March 21. (Asami Terajima)

LVIV – Days after Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February, native authorities began banning all alcohol gross sales.

The measure is a part of martial regulation. Though it was imposed on the nationwide stage, it leaves native authorities the fitting to determine on the alcohol gross sales ban. 

By early March, all main cities had halted the sale of alcoholic drinks. 

“We are going to have fun after the victory,” Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi stated on March 1 when imposing the ban.

Nonetheless, almost a month into the warfare, some started to query the strict prohibition.

Within the western metropolis of Lviv, now house to at the least 200,000 internally displaced folks from different elements of the nation, shopkeepers say that they’re uninterested in folks coming to the shop simply to ask if they’ll purchase alcohol there. 

“Nearly each second buyer asks me whether or not we promote alcohol right here,” a grocer in central Lviv informed the Kyiv Unbiased.

Ranging from March 16, a number of Ukrainian areas started allowing the sale of beer. On March 19, Lviv Oblast Governor Maxim Kozitsky announced that the gross sales of all alcohol would once more be allowed between 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.

But residents of the regional capital Lviv had little time to benefit from the finish of prohibition. 

Hours after the announcement, the mayor of Lviv made it clear: “Lviv’s place stays unchanged. Promoting alcohol is banned.”

The regional capital turned the one main metropolis throughout western Ukraine to maintain the doorways for beer lovers shut. 

Supporting the financial system 

In keeping with martial regulation laws, native authorities – governors, mayors and heads of village councils – have the fitting to determine whether or not to limit alcohol gross sales.

After initially supporting the ban, native authorities throughout the nation are actually divided on their method in the direction of prohibition. 

Cities on the frontline like Kyiv and Kharkiv, in addition to Odesa, are preserving the restrictions in place. 

Some western cities, removed from Russian troops, lifted the ban. 

Volyn Governor Yuriy Pogulyiko stated on March 16 that the area is house to many native breweries and lifting the ban would assist the area’s financial system.

The choice was supported by Danylo Hetmantsev, a lawmaker and head of the parliament’s tax and customs committee, who has lengthy been combating towards unlawful alcohol gross sales.

“I don’t need to shock followers of the prohibition, however vodka is bought anyway (underneath the rug),” stated Hetmantsev. “By banning the sale, you aren’t stopping it, however somewhat taking away cash from duties and taxes, the cash wanted by the state.”

As of March 21, western oblasts – Lviv, Ternopil, Ivano-Frankivsk, Volyn, Rivne, Zakarpattia, Chernivtsi, and Khmelnytskyi – allowed the sale of beer, cider and wine.

Some areas nearer to the entrance line – Zhytomyr Oblast and the town of Dnipro – additionally allowed the gross sales.

A conundrum 

Governor Kozitsky announced that the sale of all alcohol would now be allowed within the Lviv Oblast, throughout the day. Residents of Lviv thought the brand new rule utilized to them as nicely. 

Lviv’s well-known Pravda Beer Theater, a four-story pub situated within the heart, was filled with dozens of consumers having fun with their beer on March 19.

Workers stated an enormous variety of folks rushed in to purchase alcohol as quickly as clients have been informed that they might purchase alcohol.

A member of the workers informed the Kyiv Unbiased that the subsequent day, after about 25 minutes, they have been informed by their boss to shut the cashier for alcoholic drinks. 

Locals in Lviv have been capable of purchase alcoholic drinks in Drunk Cherry, a widely-known Lviv cherry liquor model with over 30 institutions throughout the nation. 

Photographs of a giant queue subsequent to the Drunk Cherry location at Lviv’s central Rynok Sq. made rounds across the web.

A video uploaded on a Telegram channel confirmed clients shopping for many bottles of alcohol in Auchan grocery store in Lviv.

That ended later the identical day, when the town mayor Sadovyi introduced that Lviv will preserve the ban, forcing the town again into prohibition.

Legally, Sadovyi could not have the authority to do this. In keeping with the martial regulation laws, the choice on alcohol gross sales is as much as the native “war-time administrations.” In Lviv, such an administration is headed by Kozitsky, the governor. Nonetheless, Kozitsky stated that heads of native communities could strengthen the ban in the event that they need to – and that’s what Sadovyi did for Lviv. 

Individuals stroll on Rynok sq. in central Lviv, Ukraine on March 21, 2022. (Asami Terajima)

Break up opinions

Lviv residents held polar views on their mayor’s resolution to maintain the ban. 

A household couple, Andriy, 46, and Olga, 44, stated that they weren’t essentially searching for a drink, however they handed by Drunk Cherry whereas strolling the streets and noticed that they have been promoting alcohol.

“I actually missed alcohol… Alcohol, you drink it, and every part is nice,” Andriy stated. “I can’t think about Lviv with out alcohol.”

Andriy stated he was returning to his hometown Kyiv and would be part of the navy, whereas Olga and their daughter have been to go to Georgia.

Though he stated that it was a shock that the Drunk Cherry stand was open, he added that “we have to reside.”

Whereas a number of folks agreed that the sale of alcohol could be appreciated, many supported the mayor’s name.

Physician Leora Bilman, 27, stated the ban was a great way to keep away from having intoxicated folks on the streets. She acknowledged that permitting clients to order alcohol at eating places will assist Ukraine’s present financial system to develop, and earnings from alcohol gross sales are substantial.

Nonetheless, she stated many individuals battle to manage their alcohol dosage.

“You possibly can drink all you need later,” Bilman informed the Kyiv Unbiased. “However not now.”

Yuriy, 30, stated that he misplaced his alcohol craving ever since Russia’s all-out warfare started in February. He stated he needs folks to concentrate on tips on how to win the warfare, and it’s essential that folks keep sober. 

“Individuals ought to suppose extra, not drink,” he informed the Kyiv Unbiased.

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