Disputed beverages purchase ID act scrapped

The federal government has decided to withdraw a new law regarding the purchase of beverages just one month after it went into effect.Shoppers and branch representatives were outraged by the stricter regulation enforcing customers to identify themselves at the till when they bought two or more bottles of schnapps, more than 20 litres of beer, 30 litres of lemonade or mineral water and 10 litres of wine as of 1 January of this year. Previous limits were significantly higher at 15 litres of schnapps, 60 litres of wine and 100 litres of beer and 120 litres of non-alcoholic beverages.Supermarket managers said earlier this week it was “impossible” to demand staff to ask shoppers to fill in a form every time they buy in bulk for a birthday party or a similar private occasion. Outspoken critics of the tougher ruling accused the government of trying to “spy” on citizens.Harald Waiglein, a spokesman for People’s Party (ÖVP) Finance Minister Josef Pröll, said on Tuesday: “I’m convinced we will find a solution if there are problems. The limits are not set in stone.”The finance ministry official explained the regulation should help the government in its attempts to diminish the cases of restaurant managers reselling low-priced beverages without properly registering such activities.Only 24 hours later, Waiglein announced that the joint federal administration of Social democrats (SPÖ) and the ÖVP decided to reintroduce the previous limits.