Home/FIVS Alerts/Focus on Coronavirus: Notable Policy Developments Around the World – 03 June 2020

Focus on Coronavirus: Notable Policy Developments Around the World – 03 June 2020


We would like to share the following items, which describe the impact that the coronavirus pandemic is having on the industry.

Check out our page on the FIVS website that offers news of how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting our industry around the world! We are updating this webpage as new information becomes available.

FIVS Competition Canceled

  • FIVS 2021 International Sustainable Winegrowing Competition canceled: As discussed in this article, FIVS has canceled its 2021 International Sustainable Winegrowing Competition out of concern during the coronavirus pandemic for the health and safety of the competition’s vineyard and wine producers, members, staff, judges, and volunteers. FIVS hopes to resume its annual sustainable winegrowing competition in 2022, subject to an improvement in the global environment.

Systemic Change

  • The WHO, the EC, and FIFA supporting victims of domestic abuse – The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the European Commission (EC) have joined with the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) to launch the #SafeHome campaign, supporting women and children suffering from domestic violence during the pandemic. Their joint initiative lists alcohol abuse as one of many reasons for domestic violence, noting that the pandemic has multiplied the risk of abuse. Last year, the WHO and FIFA signed a four-year agreement to promote healthy lifestyles through football.
  • Recovery predictions for the industry worldwide – The IWSR predicts that gains made in retail and e-commerce for the global alcohol category during the pandemic will not offset losses suffered due to the shutdown of bars and restaurants. They also predict that global alcohol sales will not reach pre-Covid 19 volumes until 2024, possibly taking even longer in the United Kingdom and the United States, and that beer will experience a better recovery than wine or spirits.
  • Post-pandemic legalisation of delivering alcohol beverages from restaurants and bars in the United States?
    • Illinois, New Jersey, Texas & D.C.: As 34 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia reportedly are allowing the delivery of alcohol beverages during the pandemic, some state lawmakers are arguing that those orders should be made permanent in order to help the restaurant and service industry recover from the pandemic. Lawmakers in Illinois and New Jersey have passed legislation to extend their measures until one year and six months, respectively, after the pandemic ends, and Texas and Washington, D.C., may extend their measures.
    • Michigan, New York & Texas: A New York legislator is reportedly arguing that bars and restaurants in New York State should be allowed to continue delivering alcohol beverages after the pandemic has ended, and the Governor of Texas has reportedly indicated support as well. Michigan legislators have reportedly introduced legislation to allow to-go cocktails and social districts exempt from open container laws, arguing that restaurants may need as much as 18 months to recover from losses during the pandemic.
  • Tackling alcohol harm in the United Kingdom – The chairs of the Commission on Alcohol Harms and of the Alcohol Health Alliance UK, who authored this editorial, warn that the United Kingdom should include alcohol treatment services as an integral part of its recovery plan as the pandemic ends, or they believe the UK will see increased alcohol harm for a generation.

Countries OPENING UP

  • Sale of non-refrigerated alcohol beverages returns in French Polynesia – The sale of non-refrigerated alcohol has been re-authorised in French Polynesia beginning on 02 June 2020 from 8 am to 6 pm except on Sundays and public holidays. The sale of refrigerated alcohol beverages remains prohibited.
  • Reopening Israel’s restaurants, bars, and night clubs – Under a plan reportedly approved by Israel’s Health Minister, restaurants, bars and nightclubs that serve up to 100 patrons may operate at full capacity, and larger venues may operate at 85 percent capacity. Clubs and eateries will be required to have a new government certification for businesses that meet hygiene and social distancing measures, such as tables placed 1.5 meters apart and taking the temperature of all customers. Prior to this rollback, pandemic regulations allowed restaurants to prepare food only for delivery or takeaway.
  • Entering the third of four stages of lockdown restrictions in Namibia – Namibia’s President has reportedly announced the country will enter Stage 3 of lockdown restrictions for 28 days, beginning on 01 June 2020, except for Walvis Bay which will follow one week later. Alcohol beverages may be sold for takeaway between the hours of 12 pm and 6 pm, except on Sundays. Nightclubs are still considered high-risk areas and may not reopen.
  • Returning to business in Portugal: Because more than 90 percent of newly identified cases of Covid-19 over the past week have originated in Lisbon and the Tagus Valley region, the Portuguese government has reportedly announced that the last phase of the gradual return to business will be delayed by at least four days in that region. Under Phase 3, restaurants and bars are no longer limited to half of their seated capacity if they have legally-regulated acrylic protections between tables.
  • Restricted alcohol beverage sales returning to South Africa – The sale of alcohol is reportedly being allowed under level 3 of the lockdown. Alcohol may be sold from Monday through Thursday (09h00 to 17h00). All licensed outlets may sell alcohol for off-premise consumption. License holders which have on-premise licenses will have their licenses converted to off-premise licenses for the duration of level 3. Restaurants, bars, and taverns will be allowed to sell alcohol beverages for off-premise consumption under level 3 norms. Deliveries of alcohol will be permitted 7 days a week.
  • Guidelines for wineries returning to business in Washington State – The Washington Wine Institute and Washington State University have reportedly unveiled a return-to-business guide for wineries in Washington State, available online and via webinar. Their guidelines for reopening tasting rooms during Phase 2 of the “Safe Start” initiative are based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Washington State Department of Health, Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, the Governor’s requirements, and others. They intend to continue their work to produce guidelines for Phases 3 and 4 as well.

Seeking Government Support

  • European wine sector seeking support – The European Parliament is reportedly pressuring the European Commission to support the wine sector during the pandemic through the provision of extraordinary funds, the relaxation of the green harvest measure, and activating a promotion measure.
  • Hospitality sector’s request denied in Luxembourg – The Luxembourg Government reportedly will not accept a proposal from the hospitality sector to drop VAT on alcohol beverages from 17 percent to 3 percent in order to help cafes and restaurants recover from the pandemic lockdown.
  • Wineries struggling to survive in South Africa – As South Africa begins to loosen its restrictions on the sale of alcohol beverages, wineries are reportedly struggling to survive. Vinpro estimates that 15 to 20 percent of the sector could be out of business, and job losses, which include craft brewers, currently stand at 117,600.

Illicit Sales

  • Bangladesh – Sixteen people have reportedly died after drinking illicit alcohol beverages during the Eid al-Fitr celebrations in northwest Bangladesh, and others are undergoing treatment.
  • Mexico – At least 160 people have reportedly died to date during the pandemic from consuming adulterated alcohol in Mexico. Five out of ten bottles sold in Mexico during the pandemic reportedly contain adulterated alcohol; and vendors are reportedly selling eggnog in previously-used containers.
  • Tunisia – Seven people have died and more than 50 were hospitalised after drinking cologne mixed with methanol on the first day of Eid al-Fitr in the Kairouan Province.