Not So Happy Hours

Although the World Health Organization had recommended banning all alcohol sales during lockdowns, concerns arose that such a move would increase the number of people experiencing potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, further taxing hospitals dealing with COVID-19…, Alcohol-Related Diseases Increased as Some People Drank More During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Rita Rubin, MA, 2021

During pandemic lockdowns, virtually every state considered alcohol retailers “essential businesses” that remained open while bars and restaurants closed.

But, as the authors of an article early in the pandemic observed, keeping alcohol retailers open during lockdowns could have unintentionally sent the message that alcohol is essential for life, encouraging consumption. A widely circulated myth that drinking alcohol protected against COVID-19 didn’t help matters.

More than a dozen studies have now found that 20% to 40% of individuals surveyed reported consuming more alcohol than usual during the pandemic.