2020.10.21 15:51

Lithuanian bars, restaurants ordered to close at midnight

business owners consider going to court
BNS2020.10.21 15:51

Lithuania's government announced on Wednesday that bars, restaurants, and nightclubs will have to close at midnight and register their visitors as of Monday.

"The opening hours of food serving establishments, restaurants, cafes, bars, nightclubs and other entertainment venues will be shortened to between 07:00 and 00:00," the government said in a press release on Wednesday.

The registration requirement will not apply to take-away services.

"The mandatory registration of visitors will ensure traceability in case of infections," Interior Minister Rita Tamašunienė said.

"With a high flow of people and contacts in these places, the risk of infection is high and real, and traceability would help to better manage the situation," she added.

Read more: Vilnius bars pledge to take stricter precautions against Covid-19

Business owners to turn to court

Reacting to the government's decision, Vilnius Night Alliance, an association of the city's bars and nightclubs, said it was considering to challenge it in court.

According to Mark Adam Harold, the head of the alliance, there have been precedents in Europe of businesses going to court over restrictions.

“We are talking with lawyers,” Harold told BNS on Wednesday. “There are court cases in the UK and I was in a meeting with representatives from different countries today, they said they thought it wrong that bars be declared dangerous places.”

Saulius Galdikas, who runs Piano Man bar in Vilnius, said Wednesday's decision was unexpected, since the government had previously insisted restrictions on bars and nightclubs were up to local authorities.