Crackdown on Florence’s minimarkets

New regulations on night hours beginning October 7

Editorial Staff
October 4, 2018 - 10:19

In the latest move by Florence city administration to combat excessive alcohol consumption and maintain public decorum in the historic center, a new night-closure ordinance will take effect on October 7. The regulation prohibits minimarkets and convenience shops from staying open past 10pm; also affected are all foodstuff businesses, both small and industrial, whose inventory includes alcohol. Businesses will be allowed to reopen their doors beginning at 6am.

 

Citing public health, safety and decorum as chief concerns, Mayor of Florence Dario Nardella said, “This is a measure in line with those that have already been adopted to block the proliferation of minimarkets and put the brakes on alcohol consumption, which is so damaging to our young people. It’s a protective policy for residents and for the city.”

 

Councillor for Economic Development Cecilia Del Re said, “We always want to make the UNESCO area more lively, but more liveable as well; the data shows that alcohol sales outside designated hours result in damaging consequences for our fellow citizens and visitors, as well as for residents of the historic center … The step is also a protective measure for the workers in minimarkets, who frequently cover excessive hours alone to keep the businesses open.”

 

A City of Florence-issued statement explaining the reasons for the ordinance cites how the per-capita presence of “specialized retail shops of this kind far exceeds the regional average in Tuscany; additionally, in recent years, many businesses within this same retail category have opened primarily to focus on selling alcohol and hard liquor rather than groceries and foodstuffs for the convenience of residents.” Pre-existing regulations aimed partly at curbing the spread of such shops include a three-year ban on new openings in the historic center and a block on alcohol sales after 9pm; municipal police have reported an increase in violations of the latter policy in 2018, and data from Santa Maria Nuova Hospital show that emergency room admissions of patients for alcohol-related issues are highest between the hours of midnight and 4am, with a substantial spike on Saturday nights in the window from 8pm to midnight.

 

Once enacted, the new measure will remain in place until December 31, 2018, a trial run as city administrators seek more permanent solutions.

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