The new Alcohol Act will enter into force six months later than planned, on 1 July 2021, which was announced by Secretary of State Paul Blokhuis (Public Health) during a debate in the House of Representatives on the law, which replaces the Drinks and Hospitality Act. Among other things, the new law regulates that parents who buy alcoholic beverages in the pub or restaurant for their children under the age of eighteen are punishable. Friends who are already eighteen years old and do the same, risk a fine.
Blokhuis considers these steps necessary because the consumption of alcohol among young people has not decreased in the last four years. “Very disappointing”, says Blokhuis. Research also shows “that 97% of young people get the drink through parents or older friends.” Behind the front door this cannot be punished, but in the hospitality industry it can. Previously, only the bartender or catering entrepreneur would have been fined. With the rule, Blokhuis also wants to achieve that older people become more aware that they do not give children drinks. The amount of the fine has not yet been determined.
In addition, there will be more control on the age limit when buying alcohol online and when delivering it to home. The way in which is further investigated. In any case, a package of alcohol may no longer be delivered to the neighbours, according to Blokhuis. Furthermore, price stunts in shops containing alcohol should not exceed 25 percent of the price.
The sharper rules derive from the national prevention agreement that Blokhuis concluded earlier with more than seventy organisations. The aim of this is to reduce excess weight, drinking and smoking. Pregnant and young people in particular need to be protected from alcohol, which is harmful to the unborn child and to the brain of young people.
Alcohol consumption and especially alcohol abuse must also be reduced across the board, according to Blokhuis. He referred to an opinion of the Health Council “which states that non-drinking should be the norm and one drink per day should be the maximum.”
Outside the door, drink should only be consumed in pubs, restaurants and hotels. As far as Blokhuis is concerned, wines or other drinks that are sometimes served to their customers are also out of the question. He is opposed to a PVV proposal to allow this kind of light refreshments limited to the conviviality at the end of the day. According to Blokhuis, it is precisely about reducing the number of points where alcohol is provided.
To happy hours in the hospitality industry doesn‘t change anything now. A few years ago, municipalities were given the opportunity to ban this. Half of the municipalities do this now, but the rest don’t. Blokhuis considers that a proposal from the SP to impose this on all municipalities is not necessary.