Czech city enacts ordinance banning "sitting in problem areas"
An ordinance has taken effect in 11 selected localities of the Czech city of Most restricting options for spending time outside by banning seating on freestanding walls or on chairs brought outdoors as well as forbidding the use of barbecue grills. Similar ordinances apply in other towns in the Ústí Region such as Duchcov, Krupka and Litvínov.
The ordinance makes exceptions for persons with disabilities and for persons "afflicted by a sudden sickness or weakness who sit for the purpose of taking a short rest in order to regain energy for their next movement". Mayor of Most Jan Paparega told news server Romea.cz that the ordinance is a response "to the numerous complaints, motions and petitions from citizens who complain that their fellow citizens are disturbing public order in some localities."
"This is an effort to prevent exacerbated situations from arising in which some citizens are sitting around fortified by alcohol or drugs in public spaces and assaulting or bothering others, verbally or otherwise. Problem areas were therefore identified where placing objects in public spaces (like armchairs, barbecue grills, benches, cookers) will be banned and people will be forbidden to sit," Paparega said.
Whether the correct way to combat the consumption of alcohol or drugs in public is to remove benches from the selected localities is an open question. Police are able to issue fines for violation of this ordinance starting this month.
"Police can issue a ticket on the spot for up to CZK 1 000 or they can report the matter to the misdemeanor commission," said town hall spokesperson Alena Sedláčková. News server MosteckýDeník.cz has reported that bureaucrats can seek up to CZK 30 000 from offenders for misconduct.
The wording of the ordinance "on securing local matters of public order, protecting public green spaces and improving the appearance of the city" is translated in full here:
Section 1 - Subject and aim of this ordinance
The subject of this ordinance is local matters of public order and protecting public green spaces. The aim of this ordinance is to prevent the disturbance of public order in the statutory city of Most (hereinafter the "City"), to protect public green spaces and to improve the aesthetic value of the city's appearance.
Section II Harmful activities
Activities that might disrupt public order or contravene good morals, the protection of health, property and safety, the protection of public green spaces, or disturb the aesthetic appearance of the city according to local conditions on its territory or that of its municipal departments are:
a) Placing objects outdoors for purposes of dining, recreation and relaxation (armchairs, benches, chairs, desks, sofas, tables and similar furniture) and the preparation of food (cookers, grills, smokers and similar equipment) and using them;
b) Sitting on outdoor constructions or on devices, equipment and parts of buildings not intended for that purpose (brick and concrete barriers and walls, palisades, trash bins, etc.).
Section III Installation of objects
The activities under Article 2 letter a) are banned if the owner does not agree to them in the public spaces outlined in the Appendix to this ordinance. This does not apply to the provision of services or the sale of goods outside of an establishment intended for that purpose as per a use permit under special law (1), special use of highways, roads and local streets (2) or reserving a public space to occupy it (3). An exception to the ban as per paragraph 1 is disabled persons placing medical equipment (e.g, a walker with a seat) or other similar instruments facilitating seating in the space for the purpose of taking a short rest in order to regain energy for their next movement.
Section IV Sitting
Sitting in public areas is permitted on benches and other equipment that are intended for relaxation and sitting and have been installed by the owner of the public space (or land) or with the owner's permission. This activity is permitted only with the consent of the owner on any other outdoor devices, equipment and parts of buildings located in public and installed by the owner (or with his consent). An exception to the rules listed in paragraph 1 is for persons living with disabilities or afflicted by a sudden sickness or weakness who sit for the purpose of taking a short rest in order to regain energy for their next movement and only then if such sitting on an outdoor device, equipment or part of a building will not pose a risk to the health of such persons and will not pose the risk of harming the device, equipment or part of a building.
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