Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, people have found it much easier to purchase wine and other alcoholic beverages than buying food and toilet paper from the supermarkets. It’s because all over the United States, alcohol sales have been considered by governors to be one of the essential businesses. They are more lenient in their restrictions regarding alcohol consumption and even allow home deliveries, and this has led the small businesses to be in danger of losing a lot of money. But is selling alcohol loosely really essential?
The federal government has reported that more than 50% of Americans who are 18 years old and above have been drinking alcohol for the past month, and a whopping 25% binged, drinking more than four drinks in a day. Almost 6% have developed moderate and severe alcohol abuse. As for the latter, alcohol has surely become essential for them because of their dependency.
Drinking Up Through The Pandemic
As for March 14, wine sales have increased up to 28%, beer by 14%, and spirits 27% compared to the weeks before this. Even online sales of alcohol have increased by 42%.
Some of these alcohol sales increase is undeniably due to hoarding, especially since a lot of restaurants and pubs are closed. However, based on past research and studies, times like these where stress and pressure are placed on people like this, alcohol has two major effects. They have fewer funds to buy more alcohol, and this will cause them to buy cheaper kinds of wines, beers, and spirits. All these will also lead them to drink more because of the stress and anxiety that they are feeling.
Consequently, this drinking will have short and long-term effects on people’s lives, particularly their health and safety. In the short term, drinking too much alcohol has a tremendous negative impact on one’s immune system. Domestic violence due to alcohol consumption inside the home will also likely increase, as off-premise selling of alcohol has been shown to increase violent crimes compared to reports done on people drinking in bars. The lesser violence in bars and restaurants has been owed to servers and other patrons present in these establishments. Sadly, cases of child abuse have already increased according to reports in some hospitals in the United States.
A study was done to identify the effects of the SARS last 2003 on employees of Beijing Hospital. It was found that there was a higher likelihood of dependency and alcohol abuse after three years related to working in high-risk areas, such as hospitals that were dedicated to treating individuals with respiratory conditions. The quarantine due to SARS also led to alcohol abuse. Binge drinking, on the other hand, was found in those that experienced the 9/11 World Trade Center terrorist attack and the Hurricane Katrina disaster. These reports further implicated that this COVID-19 outbreak has been causing more and more people to develop heavy drinking behaviors, thereby increasing cases of alcohol abuse in the future.
Strategies And Guidelines
Several researchers have discovered that stores selling different kinds of alcohol in a specific area and the way they serve and sell alcohol has an impact on public health. For this reason, The Task Force on Community Preventive Services came up with the idea that restricting the bulk sold and the hours and days that stores sell alcohol are effective strategies for decreasing the current alcohol problems.
There are several unreliable reports of supermarkets or stores limiting the number of rolls of toilet paper that consumers can buy, but most people can purchase carts of alcoholic beverages. Authorities in various cities must be aware of the harmful effects of alcohol, especially during this crisis, and must use stringent guidelines to minimize or decrease these effects. Alcohol may have become an essential item for some, but having too much of it is very dangerous now or in the years to come.