South Africa is one place that’s banned alcohol sales as early as March 27 once the country was put on lockdown until the end of April due to the coronavirus. Since then, alcohol groups have called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to lift the ban. One collective, The Gauteng Liquor Forum (GLF), which says it represents thousands of small businesses, even threatened to sue because of Ramaphosa’s mandate. However, the president won’t budge.
“There are proven links between the sale and consumption of alcohol and violent crime, motor vehicle accidents and other medical emergencies at a time when all public and private resources should be preparing to receive and treat vast numbers of COVID-19 patients,” Ramaphosa said in a statement on Friday, according to Reuters.
The statement added that while they carefully considered GLF’s argument, various other organizations in the liquor industry have supported the ban. But of course, people are still trying to find ways to get their hands on alcohol in the country. There have already been reports of liquor shops being looted. Online searches have also increased on how to brew alcohol at home. Citizens are only allowed to leave their homes to buy food or for health reasons, however, enforcement is patchy.
The World Health Organization just recently supported refraining from alcohol use during the coronavirus pandemic, according to USA Today. They say the substance could weaken the body’s immune system, which could put drinkers at a higher risk of contracting the coronavirus.
Certain cities in other countries have taken heed to alcohol bans, although for different reasons than South Africa or even WHO. Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, is banning alcohol sales for a week and a half to stop social gatherings that could spread the coronavirus, according to TIME. Greenland’s capital, Nuuk, has also prohibited the sale of alcohol. Their reasoning is to reduce violence against children during a period of confinement due to the coronavirus, according to The Guardian.
Even certain places in the U.S. have enforced specific restriction even if it’s not complete sale bans. In the City of Gallup, New Mexico alcohol is banned from convenience stores, but not grocery stores, according to KRQE. City councilors argue that the ban will help stop the spread of the coronavirus by limiting the access to the homeless population that purchases alcohol and shares it with others.
About a month ago, Pennsylvania closed all its state-owned liquor stores in order to stop the spread of the coronavirus, however, the state reopened it’s state-own liquor stores online a few weeks ago. According to CNN, they’ve already been struggling to keep up with the “overwhelming demand.” Recent reports have shown that alcohol sales have skyrocketed 55% nationally in the third week of March compared to the same time a year ago, according to Nielsen.