Home/FIVS Alerts/Focus on Coronavirus: Notable Public Policy Developments Around the World – 14 January 2021

Focus on Coronavirus: Notable Public Policy Developments Around the World – 14 January 2021


We would like to share the following items which describe the impact that the coronavirus pandemic is having on the industry. Please contact the FIVS Secretariat with items that may be of interest.

Opening Up

India: Odisha government allows bars and other venues to reopen after nine months – The state government of Odisha is reportedly allowing bars, beer parlors, and clubs to reopen after their closure for nine months. Although the state government had earlier allowed the opening of liquor outlets and home delivery of alcohol across the state, it had prohibited the opening of bars and clubs. Opening hours will be granted according to the conditions of licenses; establishments in violation of COVID-19 regulations will be closed.

Closing Down

South Africa: Alcohol ban extended without end-date – During a televised address on 11 January 2021, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that South Africa would remain on virus alert 3 and that the prohibition of the sale of alcohol beverages, which was set to expire on 15 January 2021, would be extended. Twenty land border posts will also be closed to most travelers until 15 February 2021, public gatherings other than funerals will not be allowed, and a nationwide curfew will be enforced from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. The South African government reported last week that it had purchased an initial 1.5 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and hoped to inoculate two-thirds of the population by the end of 2021.

  • Craft brewers fear survival – South Africa’s beer industry warned that many independent craft breweries may not survive if the government extends existing restrictions on alcohol beverage sales beyond 15 January 2021.
  • Ban spurs sale of illicit alcohol – A ban on the sale of alcohol announced in late December 2020 has reportedly spurred the sale of illegal alcohol from the underground market, including the sale of brands never sold illegally before in South Africa. The South African Medical Research Council has reportedly warned South Africans against consuming illicit alcohol. Armed criminals recently stole thousands of branded alcohol bottle caps from a production facility in Durban.

Thailand: Alcohol ban affecting 1 million employees – The Thai Alcohol Beverage Business Association reportedly estimates that the government’s ban on drinking alcohol beverages at restaurants and other entertainment venues will affect more than one million employees. A ban on selling alcohol beverages through electronic channels came into effect on 07 December 2020. The Association estimates that a prohibition on sales between December and April could result in a revenue loss of Bt9 billion (US$300 million) across the alcohol beverage industry in Thailand, while a ban lasting until the end of 2021 could cost Bt300 billion (US$10 billion).

United Kingdom: Pub closures may last until May 2021 – The UK government is reportedly considering a gradual relaxation of COVID-related restrictions over the course of several months with measures expected to remain in place until late March. However, a source has reportedly told The Sunday Times that pubs in the UK are likely to remain closed under the latest lockdown restrictions until May 2021. Takeaway pints may not be sold by the hospitality sector under the latest lockdown rules in an effort to stop people from congregating around pubs and bars.

Government Support

United States: Draft bill to permanently allow alcohol deliveries in Arkansas – An Arkansas State Senator has reportedly drafted legislation to allow liquor stores to deliver alcohol beverages to homes and provide curbside service permanently. The draft legislation states that the stores may only deliver beverages within their counties and may not deliver them through a third-party delivery system. The governor of Arkansas had granted businesses the ability to deliver alcohol on a temporary basis due to the pandemic in March of 2020.

Alcohol and the Vaccine

United Kingdom: Drinking could reduce effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccine – A BBC programme, The Truth About… Boosting Your Immune System reportedly found that drinking three glasses of Prosecco could reduce the effectiveness of white blood cells by half, suggesting that drinking alcohol beverages could reduce the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine. An immunologist from the University of Manchester warned viewers to abstain from drinking alcohol beverages immediately before and after receiving the vaccination “to have your immune system working tip-top.”