States Are Being Urged to Ban Alcohol Sales During the Pandemic
By Eric Francis
April 6, 2020
A sudden and noticeable increase in domestic violence, not just in the United States but around the world, has some urging states to consider banning alcohol sales for how ever long the COVID-91 coronavirus pandemic is going to force Americans to “shelter in place.”
“We know lockdowns and quarantines are essential to suppressing COVID-19 but they can trap women with abusive partners,” Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations said Monday in a video statement posted on Twitter.
“We have seen horrifying global surges in domestic violence,” Guterres said, “In some countries the number of women calling support services has doubled…for some women and girls, the threat looms largest where they should be safest: In their own homes.”
Some American physicians and women’s shelter operators have called for a complete ban on alcohol sales during the pandemic, arguing that even though that could mean responsible citizens will have to give up their “quarantinis” and “Zoom Happy Hours,” the effects of cutting off the fuel supply to a known class of domestic abusers would be worth it.
Politifact has pointed out that stories circulating on Facebook and Twitter this past week saying that some governors have already ordered an imminent halt to alcohol sales are false.
Just this weekend Monongalia and Hancock Counties in West Virginia announced that, effective Monday evening, sales of liquor and beer to out-of-state residents will be banned, an order which mostly targets residents of nearby western Pennsylvania who have been crossing the state line to buy booze ever since Pennsylvania shut down it’s state-run network of off-premises liquor stores because of the virus outbreak.
Pennslyvania’s decision severely curtailed its residents’ ability to buy alcohol but it didn’t close it off entirely because purchases directly from distilleries within that state are still allowed and many of them have been implementing curb-side sales operations as a result.
Although the West Virginia counties’ decision restricting sales to only those who can show a West Virginia driver’s license may have the effect of curtailing some of the home drinking going on across the state line, that was not the stated reason for the ban. Instead, local health officials said they are hoping the ban will increase the effectiveness of their “social distancing” efforts by cutting down on interstate shopping trips to their liquor stores.