Could France Ban Sale of Alcohol During Confinement?

Alcohol

Photo: Francois

France entered its second week of mandatory confinement this week with stricter rules in effect from Monday, March 23. These include reducing movement outside the house to a radius of 1 kilometer and for a maximum of 60 minutes (on the new attestation, you must fill out the date and time you leave the house).

The government has also shut down open-air markets across the country with a few exceptions in villages, until further notice.

Yesterday, the northern department of Ainse, in the Hauts-de-France region, announced additional measures, banning the sale of alcohol to help limit domestic violence during the period of confinement.

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“As intrafamily violence is often associated with excessive alcohol consumption, a regulation measure to remove the sale of alcoholic beverages until March 31st has been decided,” a press release said, adding details of a new curfew and mandatory  8 p.m.closing times for grocery stores in the department that now counts 22 deaths linked to Covid-19.

Hours after the announcement, however, the prefect of Aisne, Ziad Khouzy, backtracked. “Following discussions, in particular with addictologists, on certain possible negative consequences of a generalized measure, even a very temporary one, the prefect decided to revoke this provision pending a broader assessment of the possible measures in this area,” a second statement read on Tuesday evening.

During the few hours the ban was in place, Le Figaro contacted a supermarket owner in Braine, who said with his alcohol aisles blocked off, customers were already “all going to neighboring Marne to do their shopping, creating trips that were hardly compatible with current confinement rules.” 

In the week ending March 15, before France’s confinement measures went into effect, sales of beer increased by 12% and spirits and champagne by 6%. These increases were much less in comparison to sales of groceries or cleaning products in the country.