Sale of alcohol banned for the duration of quarantine
The Dutch government has banned the sale of alcohol in supermarkets and slijterijen around the country. This is in response to the high number of alcohol-related incidents since the social distancing measures began.
Government bans booze
Since social distancing began around two weeks ago, pubs, bars, clubs and even restaurants have been closed, meaning the only way to have a drink is to buy it from a supermarket or slijter (liquor store). However, the government has since announced that the sale of all alcoholic beverages is to be prohibited completely, across the country.
The government hopes that prohibiting the sale of alcohol will stop people using the healthcare services for alcohol-related issues. “There have simply been too many alcohol-related problems since the isolation was initiated,” said a government spokesperson. “Our healthcare system simply cannot take the strain, especially due to the current situation.”
Since the Netherlands has moved towards isolation measures, the police have reported a huge rise in alcohol-related incidents. In the past week alone there have been over 1.000 cases of alcohol poisoning, 367 people have had to have their stomachs pumped, around 800 people have had to be treated for minor injuries and twice authorities have had to rescue someone from a canal.
The government announced the new restriction would come into effect on Wednesday morning. In order to legally ban the sale of alcohol across the country, MPs voted to enact the controversial April Fools Law, which allows the government to do whatever they want. The sale of alcohol will be permitted again, following the end of the nationwide self-isolation.
Public reaction to the ban has been mixed, with some praising the government for taking such a measure, despite a seemingly unavoidable backlash. “Of course the sale of alcohol should be banned,” said a disgruntled citizen from Tilburg. “The healthcare services should be focused on dealing with the coronavirus right now, not dealing with drunkards.”
Others have condemned the measure, likening it to 1920s America. “It’s a violation of our civil liberties,” said a resident from Amsterdam. “What else are we meant to do?” When asked if he had made use of the emergency services over the past week the man told reporters he had to call the fire brigade as he had got stuck in a washing machine after drinking a 35 cl bottle of vodka.