New Year Rules Come Into Force in Budapest's Party District

  • 10 Jan 2024 8:16 AM
  • Daily News Hungary
New Year Rules Come Into Force in Budapest's Party District
The party district of Erzsébetváros has long been a battleground of conflicting interests. The ongoing debate involves the local government, residents and nightclubs, each fighting for their vision of a harmonious coexistence.

How are business owners and residents in Budapest’s party district reacting to the regulations?

New ordinance: a strict approach

According to Telex, a new ordinance was introduced in October, aiming to bring order to the chaotic nightlife in Erzsébetváros.

The measures detailed in a Facebook post by Péter Niedermüller, the district’s mayor, cover various facets of pub and restaurant activities. Notably, establishments must now employ their own security guards, maintain cleanliness in front of their premises, face license revocation after three offences and endure potential extended closing hours.

Impact beyond pubs and restaurants

The regulation extends beyond pubs and restaurants, affecting shops, electric scooter use, and even dog walkers.

Shops face a prohibition on alcohol sales between 10.00 p.m. and 6.00 a.m., coupled with mandatory closures during these hours.

Electric scooters are banned from pavements, and dog walkers must carry waste bags and water.

Limit on late-night permits

One of the most significant provisions of the ordinance is the cap on the number of establishments permitted to stay open between midnight and 6.00 a.m. Only 200 such permits are allowed.

According to Ábel Zsendovits, co-owner of Szimpla Kert, this cap was instituted when approximately one hundred and ninety bars already held licenses.

Although existing businesses face no threat, the regulation prompts inquiries regarding the potential establishment of new businesses.

Market restriction and opposition

Ábel Zsendovits views the regulation as a market restriction. He questions why individuals meeting the criteria should be barred from opening new pubs.

The co-owner of Szimpla Kert also expresses concern that the measures disproportionately affect smaller venues (with capacities up to 100-150 people), imposing additional costs for security and street cleaning.

For several cycles now, I have watched various establishments incompetently attempt to respond to certain problems, in this case real ones, usually in the form of prohibitive or restrictive regulations. This is one of them, and it brings no relief for residents or business owners, but creates new problems. Zsendovits added.

Criticism and nuanced perspectives

Speculations about pub owners auctioning licenses have surfaced, given the cap on permits. However, Tímea Gyarmati, the municipality’s press adviser, dismisses these concerns, asserting that special opening hours licenses are non-transferable.

Authorities issue licenses only when all specified conditions are met.

The ordinance from October has not been without criticism. Dóra Garai, the independent municipal representative of the Liveable Erzsébetváros Association asserts that the regulation lacks prior consultation with the community and introduces conditions that penalise smaller venues, reinforcing the dominance of larger establishments.

However, perspectives differ, with some, like Alex Neumann, owner of Úri Muri, supporting certain aspects of the regulation, particularly the emphasis on street cleaning.

Unanswered questions and future implications

Despite the strict measures, certain aspects of the regulations remain ambiguous. For instance, the ordinance addresses responsibilities of security guards vaguely, leaving uncertainties regarding qualifications.

As the debate continues, the future implications of these regulations on the nightlife of Erzsébetváros remain uncertain, leaving both business owners and residents in anticipation.

Source: - Republished with permission 

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Since 2013 this website says it has aimed to provide daily news related to the Hungarian nation for non-Hungarians. The current affairs content frequently includes Jobbik press releases, and supportive articles about that previously radical right-wing party. Some of the non-political posts are well worth sharing, like this one which is republished with permission.