Home/FIVS Alerts/Focus on Coronavirus: Notable Public Policy Developments Around the World – 14 October 2020

Focus on Coronavirus: Notable Public Policy Developments Around the World – 14 October 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.


Canada – The government of Ontario has reportedly announced that temporary COVID-19 takeaway drinks legislation will be made permanent to help restaurants and bars, which have been badly hurt during the coronavirus pandemic.

Jamaica – The Organisation of American States and the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission are reportedly undertaking a survey of several Caribbean and Latin American countries, including Jamaica, aimed at determining the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on drug use. Jamaica’s Health Minister has launched a COVID-19 Mental Health Response Programme, supported with a $20 million budget, seeking to mitigate the progression of mental health issues resulting from the global pandemic. Reports of alcohol excesses to the National Council on Drug Abuse have reportedly quadrupled in Jamaica during the last four months.

United States – A study by the Rand Corporation has reportedly found that Americans may be drinking 14 percent more often during the pandemic. The national study, which was reported in the journal JAMA Network Open, involved 1,540 adults, aged 30 to 80, compared their self-reported consumption during the spring of 2020 with drinking habits over the same time period during 2019. The increase in drinking frequency was higher for women, who drank 17 percent more often, and for those aged 30 to 59, who drank 19 percent more frequently. The study also found a 40 percent increase in binge drinking incidents by women.


Belgium – Due to a spike in new COVID-19 cases, alcohol beverages in public spaces have been prohibited throughout Belgium. Drinking establishments, including bars, amateur sports clubs, cafes, and tea rooms in Brussels, will be closed for one month, but restaurants in Brussels will be allowed to stay open until 1 a.m. Party rooms and student parties have been prohibited. Brussels now reportedly occupies second place among cities in Europe where COVID-19 is spreading fastest, behind Madrid and before Paris.

Germany – The Senate has reportedly tightened restrictions in Berlin, closing all bars and restaurants from 11 p.m. until 6 a.m., prohibiting petrol stations from selling alcohol beverages, and permitting a maximum of ten people (down from 25 people) at private celebrations in closed rooms. The new restrictions will be in effect at least until 31 October 2020. Berlin authorities reportedly believe private celebrations and illegal parties are responsible for the increase in COVID-19 cases.

Iceland – Tightened restrictions have taken effect in Iceland at least until 19 October 2020. Bars, clubs, slot machine parlours, and gyms have been closed under the new regulations. Gatherings are now limited to 20 people, down from 200. Spectators will be allowed only at outdoor athletic events with numbered seats.

India – The Indian state of Kerala has delayed the reopening of its 500 bars due to a spike in COVID-19 cases, which now has had more than 10,000 cases since its first one on 30 January 2020. The state government will allow counter sales of alcohol beverages to continue at the same rates as state-run retail outlets.

Ireland – Ireland’s Minister of State has reportedly warned that the purchase of alcohol beverages may be examined as part of the effort to halt the spread of COVID-19. The Minister expressed concern in particular about the “uncontrolled” consumption of alcohol beverages at house parties.

Scotland – Pubs and restaurants throughout central Scotland, including Glasgow and Edinburgh, are required to close indoors and outdoors for two weeks due to a surge in coronavirus cases. Takeaways will be permitted, and cafes that do not have alcohol licenses may stay open until 6:00 p.m. Snooker and pool halls, indoor bowling alleys, casinos, and bingo halls must also close. Opposition parties have called on the government to provide more details regarding a £40m support package for affected business and are questioning the need for the blanket closure of pubs and restaurants.