South Africa imposed some of the most strict and dramatic measures to curb the spread of COVID-19. One of the restrictions that generated a lot of debates and protests in some cases is the ban on the transport and sale of alcohol. Other measures that the country took include restricting public transport and closing its national borders.
Other countries that have imposed restrictions on alcohol consumptions during the COVID-19 pandemic include Panama, Sri Lanka, Kenya, and Thailand. India had also imposed restrictions, although the government has started to lift the restrictions gradually.
The right to drink against a public health crisis
Alcohol enthusiasts are protesting to be deprived of the right to enjoy their favorite drink and entertainment form. In addition, alcohol producers and sellers are counting losses due to restrictions on consumptions. On the other hand, governments are battling a public health crisis with alcohol consumption, which leads to social gatherings and uncontrollable behavior being blamed among the key factors fueling the spread of the COVID-19.
Alcohol consumption has also been named a key contributor to the increase in domestic violence and accidents. During the pandemic, countries have restricted alcohol consumption in different ways and degrees. These range from a total ban on alcohol consumption to limiting hours of operation of bars.
In South Africa, the government said it was introducing drinking restrictions to reduce pressure on public hospitals. According to government statistics, the program has been hailed as a policy success for helping the country bring the pandemic under control.
The impact of alcohol ban
When Kenya restricted alcohol consumption to respond to the virus’s spread, the former chairman of the country’s anti-drug and narcotic agency said the government had been ill-advised. It did not consider the effect of the ban on those who already addicted to drinking. John Mututho, the former chairman of the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA), said the ban would lead to more addicts’ death.
On the economic front, the ban caused the closure of business for bars and alcohol retailers. In addition, alcohol-producing companies also scaled down their operations due to a drop in demand. This has led to a loss of revenue and left many jobless.