Home/FIVS Alerts/Focus on Coronavirus: Notable Policy Developments Around the World – 16 June 2020

Focus on Coronavirus: Notable Policy Developments Around the World – 16 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.

Government Assistance

  • European Parliament committee rejects aid package – The European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee has rejected a section of an aid package proposed by the Commission for wine, fruit, and vegetable producers, reportedly because they believed it was not ambitious enough to address the disruption caused by the pandemic. The proposal would have provided new support measures for wine, as well as exemptions from the Common Agricultural Policy’s (CAP) obligations.
  • More aid for the wine industry in France – The French government reportedly announced an additional €30 million in aid for the French wine industry, including €15 million for the launch of a private storage aid scheme for 2mhl of surplus wine, an alternative to distilling. This aid comes in addition to the €140 million in support for the industry that was promised on 11 May 2020.
  • Support for the wine industry in Spain – The Government of Spain has reportedly approved €90 million in aid for its wine sector to alleviate disruption to the market during the pandemic.

Opening Up

  • Will prohibition of alcohol sales continue in Mexico? Beer production was included as an activity deemed essential to the economic restart operations in Mexico on 01 June 2020, but production will only restart gradually in compliance with established protocols. Asked whether the prohibition of the sale of alcohol beverages will continue, the head of the Government of Mexico City said that decisions regarding the sale of alcohol will be determined by individual mayors.
  • As the ban on alcohol sales ends in South Africa – Some in South Africa – including the opposition party, Economic Freedom Fighters – have reportedly called for the reinstatement of the country’s ban on alcohol sales during the pandemic, just one day after the ban was lifted.
    • South Africa: Already concerned about their healthcare system under pressure from cases of Covid-19, a number of hospitals in the Western Cape Province reportedly found a significant spike in trauma cases linked to alcohol abuse since the government lifted a ban on alcohol sales on 01 June 2020.

Many other countries, including the following, are opening up as well according to news reports –

Moving Online

  • Belarus – Belarus may temporarily permit the online sale of up to five liters of alcohol beverages through the end of 2020 in order to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Food must be ordered simultaneously and only Belarusian products reportedly may be sold online.


  • France – The French agency FranceAgriMer reportedly announced that 33 licenced distillers will be able to collect surplus wine and distill it into hand sanitiser and ethanol, making room for the next harvest. Winemakers must indicate the amounts they wish to distill by 19 June 2020.
  • United States – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is reportedly implementing less rigid guidelines regarding hand sanitisers to help prevent shortages during the coronavirus pandemic. In April 2020, the FDA had tightened restrictions, but the agency is now allowing certain levels of impurities for a relatively short period of time, given the importance of hand hygiene during the pandemic.
    • United States – This article expresses concern about the prospects for smaller distilleries remaining in business for more than six months, given the loss of tourism and tasting room revenues during the pandemic. Because the operations of more than 75 percent of craft distilleries are reportedly now devoted to producing hand sanitisers, the author worries whether those distilleries that survive will be able to regain brand awareness after the pandemic comes to an end.

Illicit Alcohol


  • Vast majority (84%) drinking the same or less alcohol during shutdown – A new global survey of more than 11,000 people across nine countries by YouGov for the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking found most people are maintaining their previous levels of drinking or consuming less alcohol under lockdown. Almost one in three drinkers (30%) said they were drinking less or had stopped during shutdowns, and of those almost half (46%) said they would continue to drink less when the restrictions were eased.
  • Astronomical growth of liquor delivery services continues in the United States – As drinking venues begin to re-open in the United States, liquor delivery service sales remain about 400 percent above historical levels. Consumers are reportedly buying more expensive products, using funds normally spent going out.
  • Fears of pandemic binge drinking in the UK unfoundedNew research from the Portman Group reportedly found that the majority of adults in the UK are drinking the same or less amount of alcohol than before the lockdown. Two-thirds who drank before the lockdown are now drinking the same or less, or have stopped completely.