One of the COVID-19 containment measures that took place worldwide this year was having a lockdown. With the daily rise in numbers, governments all over the world like the UK, US, India, Thailand, Kenya, and South Africa, restricted movements and even closed down borders. But the most noticeable measure imposed was the ban on alcohol.
South Africa, to contain the number of admissions in hospitals, imposed a ban on alcohol since the end of March to 1st June. The decision by President Cyril Ramaphosa was not without backlash from party-loving citizens. This strict ban was imposed on bars as well as alcohol-selling outlets.
Social-drinking Plug Pulled
For obvious reasons, pubs and clubs were assigned to close doors with immediate effect in South Africa. Social drinking brings people together and would have been the major cause of the virus spread. Additionally, according to Cyril Ramaphosa, this ban was put in place to reduce the number of trauma-related hospital admissions. Secondary effects of alcohol drinking such as accidents, Gender-based violence, fights, were projected to reduce with the alcohol ban and would give bed space to those in need.
In July, angry South African citizens went on Twitter to protest against the extended ban. Approximately 117,000 jobs were lost in the industry during the first ban on alcohol sales. “We at the point where the government needs to open everything and people must learn to take care of themselves. All the information about COVID is provided. Our economy won’t survive this lockdown. More people will suffer. Open all industries.” One said.
In UK and US, home drinking has increased. Those dependent on alcohol have no choice but to do it at home. Being relatively idle has also contributed to a rise in home drinking as it seems to be the best way to pass time.
Many factors have led to an increase in alcohol consumption. Issues such as job loss, relationship pressures, restricted movement are just but a few.
With the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rise or fall of alcohol consumption will depend on the citizens’ behavior.