Even with the closure of bars, pubs, and restaurants, one study reveals that Australians have spent 34% more money on alcohol than this time last year.
In addition to the COVID-19 crisis, a parallel health risk has surfaced with people being locked inside their homes. Experts warn that drinking habits picked up during lockdown could be difficult to break.
The consequences of alcohol consumption at home have become fuzzy: the liquor cabinet is closer than ever and schedules have all but flown out the window.
Sunday, March 22nd saw a mad dash to bottle-Os amidst confusion as to whether the retailers were considered an essential service. Commonwealth Bank reported that alcohol sales were up 86% during that week.
As of March 31, liquor retailers put restrictions in place to curb panic-buying. Amongst others, the voluntary measures include purchase limits of 2 cases of beer and cider, 2 bottles of spirits, and 12 bottles of wine.
— Tim Stoney (@timstoney) March 22, 2020
“People are under a lot of stress, with worries about the disease, financial impacts and social isolation,” said Caterina Giorgi, CEO of the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education.
“Many people are at increased risk of alcohol use spiralling out of control, with negative effects on their own health and sometimes the safety of those around them.”
Tons of drinking memes have also popped up in recent weeks, forcing internet-goers to assess their habits.
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During social isolation, face-to-face support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous have been replaced with Zoom video chats. This makes it more challenging than ever for those struggling with addiction.
Professor Michael Farrell is the director of the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre at UNSW Sydney. He told The Guardian that further restriction might be too much for Australians.
“There is enough social control at the moment,” he says. “We should focus people on learning physical and mental health hygiene and good regimes around exercise and food. People should have a number of days where they forgo alcohol”.
It seems Mexicans are facing similar problems with alcohol production in Mexico deemed nonessential.
— RICHARD (@Ricardo52511554) April 2, 2020