As you might expect, COVID-19 (or the coronavirus, as its commonly called) is the subject dominating news articles right now. And there have been quite a few stories about the way it is impacting those dealing with addiction and recovery. One notable headline concerned a recent regulation lift in our home turf of California. As with the rest of the country, people in our state are now under a strict quarantine law forbidding them from socializing at establishments like bars. In a way, that can actually be a good thing for people dealing with alcoholism; as it limits their accessibility to booze. But that all changed last week when our Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control lifted a ban on these types of businesses.
In a move that many in our industry found questionable, local bars and restaurants can now sell pre-packaged containers of alcohol (such as mixed cocktails, craft beers and wines) as a to go item. Outlets like The New York Post have dubbed the effort “Drive-Thru Drinking” which, in itself, sounds extremely dangerous.
The movement is meant to help small businesses and keep establishments like this operational. Now we can understand that sentiment, as many Mom and Pop shops across our state have been hit with a severe financial blow. But there are also safety measures to consider, and the idea of letting people (and potential alcoholics) bring booze into their car with a sippy container could be a recipe for trouble. We all know about the tremendous carnage caused by DUI’s and we would hate for more scenarios like that to emerge during these trying times.
The Post interviewed several bar owners who were (unsurprisingly) excited for the ban lift. Christ Aivaliotis runs a popular bar in Oakland and applauded the state for giving his customers the opportunity to take home his signature drinks.
“People need some sort of distraction – they need something fun,” Aivaliotis emphasized. “I just want people to be able to get drunk in their homes!”
And let’s certainly think about that scenario too. Even if you remove DUI’s from the equation (which should be at the forefront of consideration), encouraging people to drink at home while they’re vulnerable and isolated is also extremely reckless. We certainly want to be available as a resource during this difficult period, pushing people to move away from these types of temptations and seek out the help they deserve.