Banned booze: Vendors count their losses as police search for methanol-tainted liquor continues

Minutes before midnight on September 14, two police officers, worn-out after hours of walking around local pubs and bars, handed an official notification to an owner of a small club in Teplice, north Bohemia.

Like most alcohol purveyors throughout the country that night, the club owner was about to be informed of a government decree banning all drinks with an alcohol percentage of 20 and above. If he didn’t comply, he would face up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of 3 million Kč.

Despite the widespread public attention to the series of methanol poisoning cases that claimed lives throughout the country during the preceding week, the prohibition came as a total shock to vendors as well as consumers.

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(Photo:  Zsuzsanna Kilian/