Home/FIVS Alerts/Focus on Coronavirus: Notable Public Policy Developments Around the World – 27 January 2021

Focus on Coronavirus: Notable Public Policy Developments Around the World – 27 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.


United States: Supporting the fight against vaccine skepticism – For the first time in 37 years, Budweiser will not air a commercial during the Super Bowl on 07 February 2021 but will instead donate portions of its advertising budget to the Ad Council, a nonprofit marketing group leading a $50 million advertising blitz to fight coronavirus vaccine skepticism. The beer company released its 90-second online vaccination ad, titled “Bigger Picture.”

Closing Down

Czech Republic: Restaurants and pubs defying COVID-19 rules – After being closed for months, hundreds of Czech restaurants and pubs have reportedly re-opened in defiance of Covid-19 restrictions, joining a movement called the Chcipl PES (Dog is Dead), which was launched by an activist group founded by owners of several entertainment venues. Restaurants and pubs, as well as cinemas, theaters, zoos, and other “non-essential” businesses have remained closed since October 2020, although they were allowed to open briefly with limited capacities over the holidays.

South Africa: Beer industry jobs cut – South African Breweries (SAB) has reportedly suspended the contracts of 550 temporary workers indefinitely due to South Africa’s third ban on alcohol beverage sales. The move will reduce SAB’s current workforce to 5,357, and those suspended will receive no income during the suspension. The South African arm of Heineken reportedly will cut 70 jobs due to the bans, and approximately 30% of local breweries have shut down permanently.

Sri Lanka: Suggesting that alcohol reduces vaccine effectiveness – As the first deliveries of vaccinations were expected to arrive in the country, Sri Lanka’s National Authority on Smoking and Alcohol reportedly said that drinking alcohol beverages and smoking reduces the effectiveness of the vaccines. The Authority reportedly appealed to the public to abstain from alcohol and smoking for at least three months and suggested further that the use of cigarettes should be banned for at least one year and that liquor outlets should be closed for at least one year.

United Kingdom: Lockdown quietly extended? – Lockdown laws that give local authorities the ability to close pubs and other hospitality venues have reportedly been quietly extended until the summer.

Opening Up

Thailand: Brewers urge reopening of bars and end of alcohol sales ban in restaurants – The Craft Beer Association of Thailand has reportedly asked the Interior Ministry’s Covid-19 task force to drop the government ban on alcohol beverage sales in restaurants and to allow bars to reopen. During an earlier coronavirus outbreak, beer makers and retailers were permitted to sell their products online. After the government banned online sale of alcohol beverages, craft beer could only be sold in restaurants, but restaurants are now no longer allowed to serve alcohol beverages on their premises.


South Africa: Did the alcohol bans free up hospital beds? – A study conducted in Cape Town by Groote Schuur Hospital trauma surgeons and Medical Research Council researchers reportedly found that the average total number of trauma patients decreased by 53% during the hard lockdown period from April 2020 to May 2020, but the number returned to pre-lockdown levels in June 2020 when sales of alcohol beverages resumed. The authors conceded that the reduction in patients injured in road traffic collisions was partly attributable to there being fewer drivers on the roads. They admitted, too, that the reduction in violent crime during the lockdown was due to people staying in their homes and high-visibility policing, including the presence of the army.

United States: Uncertainty for wine due to pandemic & millennials – A preliminary report on year-over-year growth reportedly estimated that total wine sales in the United States during 2020 will be up 1.3%. But a second report suggested that year-end restaurant closures, other COVID-19 restrictions, and overall lower December 2020 sales might lead to a downward revision of 1 to 2%. The wine industry also reportedly faces hurdles among millennials and Gen Zers, who may prefer premium spirits, craft beers, and lower-calorie and nonalcoholic options.