Although the sale of alcohol to minors is prohibited by law, sellers often do not respect it. This was proven by an inspection by the Czech Trade Inspection Authority (CTIA) on Monday. A young figurehead managed to buy alcohol in three out of four shops visited.
The young figure was successful in his first purchase at 9 a.m. in Prague’s Štěpánská Street. Just a short distance away, in Jindřišská Street, he succeeded again. The man at the checkout gave the impression that he didn’t understand Czech.
“All this will be taken into account in the administrative proceedings. In the case of repeated findings, a fine can be CZK 100,000, but the law speaks of a fine of up to CZK 1 million,” explained CTIA spokesman Jiří Fröhlich.
Three out of four cases
Only in the third shop did the shop assistant ask the man for his ID card to verify his age. And the young man walked away with no ID. But not for long – his next attempt succeeded—this time through a self-service checkout with the assistance of a salesgirl.
“On behalf of Billa, I would first like to apologize for our employees’ misconduct. The sale of alcohol and cigarettes to minors is prohibited in our stores, and staff has clear instructions on how to proceed. An employee of an external agency violated internal regulations, and our company will take appropriate consequences, ” said Dana Bratánková, spokeswoman for the chain.
According to the inspectors, the behavior of retailers has not changed significantly compared to last year: similar inspections, similar figures, and the same numbers as today. “On average, we were successful in three out of four cases. There, certain aspects are taken into account – whether it is the first time or whether the establishment had other problems, ” Fröhlich said.
Psychologist Marie Funke sees the sale of alcohol to minors as a significant problem. “A vendor who sells alcohol to a young person should realize that they are putting the young person at risk not only of developing an addiction but also of losing their life,” Funke pointed out, adding that lockdowns and the subsequent release of coronavirus measures have an impact on the development of addictions.
Last year, the Czech Trade Inspection Authority carried out more than 5,000 such inspections targeting the sale of alcohol or tobacco products to minors. It handed out fines totaling CZK 25 million to more than two thousand shops.