Bottle Shop Restrictions on Alcohol Purchases Lifted Today


Update: April 29, 2020

At the end of March, bottle shops around the country announced restrictions on the amount of alcohol you could purchase due to a spate of panic buying.

This move itself was voluntary but a large number of bottle shops including Liquorland, BWS, Dan Murphy’s, Vintage Cellars, Cellarbrations and First Choice Liquor enforced the restrictions.

Today, that restriction will be lifted.

According to Retail Drinks CEO, Julie Ryan, these restrictions helped squash the behaviour of panic buying.

“After monitoring data closely over the last month, we can report that despite early elevated purchasing following initial announcements of Covid-19 related restrictions, we have seen purchasing trends flatten and return to near-normal,” she said in a press release.

“Retail liquor trading has returned to 2019 levels, and in many cases is actually significantly lower.”

Ryan revealed that alcohol sales had decreased, despite anecdotal evidence indicating that drinking had increased — especially in iso.

“On average, liquor retail sales in April are up to 15 percent lower than this time last year and Easter trading was also up to 10 percent lower than the 2019 Easter trading period,” Ryan said.

“Some liquor retailers are reporting their worst April trading in over 4 years.”

According to Ryan, the alcohol drinking habits of Australians has actually been trending down for years.

“The AIHW survey over the last few years has showed consistent declines in the consumption of alcohol at harmful rates, increased abstinence by teenagers, and a significant decline in total alcohol consumption,” she said.

“When you consider the huge reduction in liquor sold in Australia from the complete decimation of the on-premise industry in pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes, the return to 2019 trading levels in retail means that total liquor sales in Australia are actually significantly reduced from prior years.”

While the data might indicate that drinking has slowed, it’s still important to consume alcohol in moderation, especially at the moment when our mental and physical health is vulnerable due to isolation.

Update: April 9, 2020

Bottle shops are closed on Good Friday — in keeping with normal restrictions — but there is another way to buy booze on the public holiday.

Pubs, clubs, small bars, restaurants and cafes in New South Wales have been given the green light to sell takeaway food and grog on Good Friday.

This change has been made in an attempt to help businesses stay afloat during this tough time.

“This is for the businesses doing it tough and people at home doing the right thing to protect their communities,” Executive Director of Policy and Strategy for Liquor & Gaming NSW, John Tansey, said in a statement.

“Some licensees who hold a liquor licence would normally be able to trade on a Good Friday but we’re extending that to all pubs, clubs, small bars, restaurants and cafes that sell food.

And, the same exception is being made for ANZAC Day later this month.

“Likewise, ANZAC Day is normally a restricted day for trade, but given the circumstances, it’s also a chance for some of our most impacted businesses to maintain operations and keep their staff employed,” Tansey said.

The only catch is you have to purchase food at the same time as buying alcohol.

“On Good Friday, pubs, clubs, small bars, restaurants and cafes with liquor licences can sell takeaway alcohol, with a meal, during their normal trading hours within a 12pm to 10pm window,” the statement from Liquor & Gaming NSW and NSW Fair Trading reads.

“The exemption does not apply to packaged liquor licensees such as bottle shops – these businesses are subject to their normal Good Friday closure.”

When it comes to ANZAC Day, pubs, clubs, small bars, restaurants and cafes with liquor licenses will able to sell alcohol during their usual trading hours, while bottle shops can open from 1pm on the day.

“This Easter long weekend and ANZAC Day will look very different to all we’ve had before but I’m sure people will find creative and safe ways to connect with their friends and loved ones while practising social distancing,” Tansey said.

Original: March 31, 2020

Bottle Shops Put Buying Limit on Booze So It Might Be Time For a Few Alcohol-Free Days

The month of March has been a long one. In a matter of days, our daily lives have changed dramatically and we’re all having to adhere to new protocols that we’re not used to.

And, while it’s all extremely necessary to flatten the curve of COVID-19 by staying home, it can also be an isolating and stressful experience. So, enjoying a few glasses of wine per day to take the edge off is super tempting. But as we settle into what could be our reality for the next few months, it might be helpful to also implement a few alcohol-free days.

“You’re in quarantine, you’re at home and you’ve got nothing else to do, so you use that as an excuse to stock up on alcohol,” Dr. Navya Singh, PsyD, a psychologist and research scientist at the Columbia University department of psychiatry, told Healthline.

“People who are self-medicating are going to put themselves at more health risks.”

These health risks include everything from sleep impairment and dehydration to cancer and liver disease. These risks decrease when the amount you drink also decreases.

“The risks of chronic disease are directly proportional to the overall amount we consume over time,” Professor Tim Stockwell, former director of Australia’s National Drug Research Institute, told the ABC.

Earlier in the month, panic buying swept through bottle shops in Australia. This had such an effect on stock levels that many of the major bottle shops around the county have now introduced a limit to how much booze customers can purchase in one transaction.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, retailers including Liquorland, BWS, Dan Murphy’s, Vintage Cellars, Cellarbrations, First Choice Liquor and Aldi are now enforcing these restrictions, which came into effect today, March 31.

The new measure will only allow customers to purchases the following, as reported by SMH.

  • A maximum of two slabs of beer or cider
  • 12 bottles of wine
  • Two cases of pre-mixed spirits
  • Two cases of cask wine (two casks not more than 10 litres)
  • Two bottles of spirits (two bottles not more than two litres)

This measure has been voluntarily taken by the industry and one that was needed following recent buying behaviour.

“It was clear that uncertainty on the impact of supply following the closure of pubs, clubs and restaurants last week caused some people to purchase differently,” Julie Ryan, chief executive officer of Retail Drinks Australia, told SMH.

“We want to now send a clear message bottle shops remain an essential service and there are no issues of supply.”

So, now seems to be a good time to actively reduce the number of days in the week you consume alcohol. Simply taking one or two days off drinking will also help form new habits.

“Alcohol-free days are very helpful in breaking the rhythm and cycle [of drinking],” Professor Emmanuel Kuntsche, the director at La Trobe University’s Centre for Alcohol Policy Research, told the ABC.

This will also work towards breaking the link between alcohol and relaxation, especially after a hard day.

“Without thinking about it, your body knows your desire,” Kuntsche said.

The current health crisis is evolving rapidly. If you suspect you or a family member has coronavirus you should call (not visit) your GP or ring the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.

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