Home/FIVS Alerts/Focus on Coronavirus: Notable Public Policy Developments Around the World – 24 March 2021

Focus on Coronavirus: Notable Public Policy Developments Around the World – 24 March 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.

Closing down

Germany: Easter lockdown announced – Facing dangerous COVID variants and a third wave of infections, Germany’s Chancellor announced a hard lockdown from 01-05 April 2021, including some supermarkets, with the exception of Easter Saturday. Easter services may only take place virtually, and private gatherings will be limited to two households with a maximum of five people. Outdoor catering will be closed during those five days.

Poland: Partial lockdown in effect – New restrictions effective from 22 March to 09 April 2021, applying to the whole of Poland, have been instituted to curb a third COVID-19 wave. Hotels, casinos, cinemas, and amusement parks have been closed, and catering activity will be allowed only for take away or delivery. The Minister of Health has not ruled out the possibility of imposing further restrictions.

Illicit trade

Lithuania: Alcohol smuggling surges during pandemic – Lithuania’s Customs Department has reported that smuggling volumes of alcohol beverages were almost six times higher during the pandemic. Customs officers seized 14.5 tons of illegal alcohol during 2020, compared with 2.5 tons during the previous year.

Pandemic’s impact

Australia: Impact on hospitality industry after year one – This article reviews the impact that the pandemic has had on Australia’s hospitality sector since its Prime Minister placed the country in lockdown one year ago on 23 March 2020 – when pubs, bars, and clubs joined the list of venues forced to close their doors, but bottle shops were classified as essential services.

United States: Industry seeking to make pandemic gains permanent – Legislation regarding alcohol beverages in the United States reportedly has changed more dramatically during the pandemic than at any point since the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, which left rules governing the industry up to each state. Although no state allowed to-go sales of alcohol beverages prior to the pandemic, 33 states and the District of Columbia began to allow take-away sales from bars and restaurants in 2020. Legislation to make that policy permanent has been introduced in each of those 33 states, though the progress of those bills has been uneven.


Poland: Alcohol prices up 40% during pandemic – Analysis of over 255,000 alcohol prices in stores from 01 March 2020 to 28 February 2021 in Poland found that the price of alcohol rose by 39.5%, compared with the corresponding period in 2019-2020. Wine prices increased by nearly 31%; spirits, liqueurs, and creams rose by almost 50%; and beer increased by less than 13%. The price of cider fell by about 25%.

Spain: 55% of 18-to-34-year-olds drank less & 18% of 35-to-65-year-olds drank more during pandemic – Research funded by the Government Delegation for the National Plan on Drugs (PNSD) of Spain’s Ministry of Health reportedly showed that more than half of adults between 18 and 34 years of age decreased their alcohol consumption during home confinement due to the pandemic. However, in the age group between 35 and 65 years, about 50% did not vary their consumption and 18% increased it. More than eight hundred people participated in a survey that served as the basis for the study.

United States: Lockdowns linked to harmful alcohol use – A study published in Psychiatry Research and conducted by the Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab at the University of Arizona that screened 6,000 people from April – September 2020 has reportedly linked the harmful use of alcohol beverages with lockdowns during the pandemic. Those individuals who were not under lockdown showed little change in alcohol consumption. For those kept at home due to lockdowns, however, harmful use apparently increased month by month. Most alcohol consumption occurred among those who had lost their jobs due to COVID-19.