Home/FIVS Alerts/Focus on Coronavirus: Notable Public Policy Developments Around the World – 11 November 2020

Focus on Coronavirus: Notable Public Policy Developments Around the World – 11 November 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 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.

Tightening Up

Venues in Mexico City closed for breaking regulations – Mexico City’s government – which had allowed bars to operate so long as alcohol beverages (1) were not the main products, (2) alcohol was not served past 11 p.m., and (3) venues agreed to operate at no more than 30 percent capacity – has reportedly closed venues for breaching those guidelines. Government investigators have also closed bars after finding that staff failed to wear masks, tables were not separated healthy distances, sanitizing gel was not in use, and/or customers’ temperatures were not taken. The government has reportedly closed 31 bars and restaurants for up to fifteen days.

Oslo shuts down hospitality sector – Oslo authorities announced strict temporary new anti-coronavirus measures, including the prohibition of indoor events and a full ban on the sale of alcohol beverages, effective as of 09 November 2020.

Late night alcohol beverage sales banned in Paris, France – Due to the rising cases of COVID-19, the police prefecture in Paris announced that delivery and take-away from restaurants, as well as the sale and consumption of alcohol beverages on public roads, will be prohibited in Paris from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m., effective as of 06 November 2020.

Beer takeaways allowed again in the UK – Concerned that 7 million pints might be poured away, the British government will allow, as of 05 November 2020, for takeaway beer from pubs and breweries although customers must pre-order drinks by phone or online. This policy reverses earlier rulings indicating that beer takeaways would not be allowed. The industry welcomed the change but has reportedly called for a specific support package because thousands of pubs and breweries are at risk of closing their doors.

Relaxing Restrictions

Singapore’s reopening pilot project – Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Home Affairs have reportedly announced a pilot programme involving a small number of pubs and bars that will be permitted to open for two months as of December 2020, so long as no alcohol beverages are sold, served, or consumed after 10:30 p.m. Another programme involves karaoke lounges and nightclubs, which will be allowed to open for three months as of January 2021, so long as all customers are tested for COVID-19 24 hours prior to the end of their time at the establishment. Recordings from closed-circuit television must be stored for 28 days so that enforcement agencies can ensure effective compliance. Establishments that breach these rules will be removed from the programmes and face penalties.

Impact of alcohol ban on South African industry – This article considers the actual effects, rather than what the South African government intended, as it imposed recurring bans on the consumption and distribution of alcohol beverages in South Africa during its lockdown.

Illicit Trade

Illicit trade booming in Latin America – Temporary but strict dry laws, as well as restrictions on the sale of alcohol beverages, during the pandemic have caused the sale of illicit liquor to grow enormously throughout Latin America. Illicit trade has grown in Honduras where authorities seized 6,000 bottles of adulterated rum from Europe; Costa Rica where illicit liquor has been smuggled from Panama; Mexico where authorities seized 7,000 bottles of clandestine whiskey; Dominican Republic where people drank tainted clerén, believing it would prevent the coronavirus; Panama where the production of counterfeit artisanal drinks has grown; and Peru where authorities seized 150 boxes of illicit rum and vodka.

Action on alcohol harm delayed in New Zealand – A report from the Auckland Regional Public Health Service reportedly says that the pandemic has caused huge setbacks in Auckland’s fight against smoking, obesity, and alcohol harm. Its alcohol programme which attempts to reduce harm has been heavily impacted, with much of its work paused. Normal roles were gutted as the service fought community outbreaks of COVID-19, leaving just over one third of its staff to cover areas normally seen as a top priority.