Many state governments in the U.S. have eased down on alcohol control laws to allow their respective residents to order drinks online as a precautionary measure. Although intended only as a temporary course of action, there are indications that the changes might become permanent.
The said relaxation of alcohol sales rules provided more than just economic relief for liquor retailers. According to a recent Nielsen report, a tremendous 243% increase in online alcohol sales spurred a phenomenal growth in alcohol trade.
The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has bored down heavily on state economies with only a few businesses given permission to resume operations after about three months of forced closure. The resumption though has yielded weak results since many consumers are still living off on unemployment benefits and stimulus paychecks.
The thing that is most noticeable though is that alcohol sales remain robust despite financial limitations; denoting that regular alcohol consumption in communities has also reached levels that could bring on potential social negative impact. The matter, once again brings to light, criticisms regarding alcohol laws as being flexible when it comes to revenues from which states earn taxes.
Alcohol Control Laws : The Difference a Government Makes in Controlling Demand for Alcohol
Several academic studies contend that predominant political views can influence the demand for alcohol either because of preference or behavior.
The state governments of Alabama, Oklahoma and Utah remained steadfast in enforcing their respective alcohol control laws, keeping the ban on direct selling to consumers unchanged.
Although the states of Oklahoma and Pennsylvania, allowed bars and restaurants to sell alcoholic drinks for takeout or delivery, traditional liquor stores were not allowed to operate during lockdown.
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) likewise saw it fit to shut down the “special orders” that retailers use when procuring stocks from importers and small distributors. The PLCB asserted:
”Although we understand the disruptions caused by the ongoing health crisis, the health and safety of consumers and the communities, is of paramount importance and must take priority over alcohol sales.
The overall findings of the academic studies about alcohol laws is that when all things considered remain constant, and the views of the state as a whole has become politically liberal, the population is inclined to consume more alcohol. Presumably, the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will remain constant for a long time.
Currently, state governments have yet to deal with the problem of controlling the spread of the contagion; to which many found it necessary to re-issue orders for bars, pubs and nightclubs to shut down.