Home/FIVS Alerts/Focus on Coronavirus: Notable Public Policy Developments Around the World – 10 February 2021

Focus on Coronavirus: Notable Public Policy Developments Around the World – 10 February 2021


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 for more news of how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting our industry around the world. We are updating the webpage as new information becomes available.

Alcohol-related deaths

United Kingdom: Rising deaths from alcohol during the pandemic – Provisional statistics from the UK’s Office for National Statistics reportedly show that deaths caused by alcohol during the first nine months of 2020 in England and Wales were higher than at any other time since figures were first recorded in 2001. According to this report, those deaths, totalling 5,460, were sixteen percent higher than the same time period in 2019. As in the past, rates of male deaths were twice those for women.

Delivery of alcohol beverages

United States: Delivery legislation – The alcohol beverage industry has written to oppose legislation introduced that would allow the U.S. Postal Service to handle alcohol beverages in accordance with delivery requirements otherwise applicable to private couriers. The Postal Service would be required to ensure that alcohol beverages are delivered to authorised agents or addressees of those at least 21 years of age, that the resale of such alcohol beverages for a commercial purpose is prohibited, and that any mailings of alcohol beverages are not in violation of any laws or regulations. The coalition expressed concerns about whether the U.S. Postal Service could guarantee effective and reliable collection of state and local sales and excise taxes, which currently total over US$20 billion annually.

Opening up

India: Opening liquor shops in the capital – The Delhi government has reportedly directed four government-run agencies – Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation, Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation, Delhi State Civil Supplies Corporation Limited, and Delhi Consumer’s Cooperative Wholesale Store – which are responsible for the sale of alcohol beverages in New Delhi, to identify those liquor shops in public places, except in malls, that may open. Liquor shops in COVID-19 containment zones, however, will not be allowed to reopen. There are approximately 450 liquor shops in the national capital.

Seeking government support

Japan: Financial aid for restaurants and bars – Japan’s Cabinet apparently approved the use of ¥1.14 trillion (about US$10.9 billion) from reserve funds from fiscal year 2020 to increase subsidies for sectors hit hard during the coronavirus pandemic. Those funds will include ¥880.2 billion for local municipalities to offer financial aid to restaurants and bars that comply with requests to close early, as well as state subsidies up to ¥60,000 per day. The state of emergency covering Tokyo and 11 prefectures was originally scheduled to end on 07 February 2021 but has been extended by one month.

South Korea: Craft beer asking for online sales – The craft beer industry in South Korea is reportedly seeking online sales to help craft beer companies that have suffered significant damage due to business restrictions during the pandemic. The sales of most of the 41 domestic draft beer companies have dropped sharply from 50-90% during 2020. The South Korean National Assembly is currently discussing compensation for losses suffered by self-employed persons due to the COVID restrictions, but the loss of sales related to craft beer will not likely fall within the scope of compensation.

United Kingdom: 87 million pints of beer wasted – The British Beer and Pub Association has reportedly calculated that 87 million pints of beer – enough to fill 20 Olympic swimming pools – will have been thrown away as a result of pub closures during the lockdowns in the United Kingdom during the pandemic. The industry is urging the government to offer pubs financial support, including extending the VAT cut for the hospitality sector. A Treasury statement reportedly said that the hospitality sector was receiving significant support, including one-off grants worth up to £9,000, monthly grants of up to £3,000, and a £1,000 grant provided to pubs not serving food when so-called “wet pubs” were forced to close.

Closed down

Thailand: Producers protest alcohol serving ban – The entertainment sector has called upon the Thai government to lift the alcohol sales ban in restaurants imposed on 05 January 2021 in the four maximum-control provinces following a mass outbreak of COVID-19. The ban was largely lifted on 01 February 2021, except in Samut Sakhon, Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, and Samut Prakan, where pubs and karaoke parlours remain closed.

Vietnam: HCMC restaurants and bars closed – All forms of entertainment, including restaurants and bars, as well as cultural and recreational facilities, in Ho Chi Minh City, were closed as of 09 February 2021 until further notice.