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Alcohol purchases skyrocket during pandemic

by Gabriela Mendez

In an article published by Healthline they stated that alcoholic beverage sales had increased by 55% in late March when many of the states implemented their ‘safer at home’ executive order. 

Faviola Baez, a sophomore Nursing major at The University of Tampa, stated that “I find that this was bound to happen for many people who are using alcohol to destress and being that it is an extremely stressful moment in the U.S. this increase of alcohol purchase isn’t a shocker.”

Yet, there are some supermarket workers that haven’t noticed any increase in alcohol purchasing in their store during this pandemic. 

Where Scarlett Garee, a sophomore double majoring in theater and History, who works in a Whole Foods Market in Tampa stated “I haven’t noticed a spike in our alcohol sales, it has stayed consistent to what we usually sell at least coming from the front end.”

With this increase of alcohol there has been a worry of alcohol abuse with people being stuck at home for so long with no form to destress. 

“Although I completely understand why people are using alcohol to destress from such a stressful moment I do find that such a mass increase of drinking at this moment will be harmful if they make it a constant routine and rely on it to cope,” said Baez. 

Health professionals are also concerned with this increase of drinking in the U.S. could make people even more vulnerable to COVID-19. 

Where the World Health Organization (WHO) stated “Alcohol consumption is associated with a range of communicable and noncommunicable diseases and mental health disorders, which can make a person more vulnerable to COVID-19. In particular, alcohol compromises the body’s immune system and increases the risk of adverse health outcomes.” 

Many health professionals are suggesting that people cut back from drinking for alcohol can increase risk of experiencing complications from COVID-19. 

“If the cells lining a person’s airway are damaged from alcohol, then viral particles, such as COVID-19, more easily gain access, causing immune cells, which fight off infection, to not work as well, leading to increased overall risks of more severe diseases as well as complications,” said Alex Mroszczyk-McDonald, a practicing family physician in Southern California.

While others find that these people shouldn’t dictate those who are drinking an excessive amount of alcohol during this moment if it’s helping them to feel less stressed during this hard time. 

Such as Garee who stated that “I think it’s up to the person if they’re going to drink during the pandemic while at home. I can’t dictate what they will do but if drinking a glass of wine at 11 a.m. will help them then I cannot pass judgment on them.”

Still, even though there are major concerns in regards to American’s health and this mass drinking of alcohol on the business side many restaurants and supermarkets are benefiting during this troubling moment for the economy. 

Eater reports that alcohol is responsible for 20 to 30% of restaurant sales which has caused many restaurants in several states to allow the selling of liquor to-go with the customers’ food. 

States such as New York whose State Liquor Authority have allowed its bars and restaurants to sell liquor with the purchasing of food.  

Where New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo announced “Stay home and order from your favorite restaurant, your favorite bar, your favorite winery. Ordering from whatever establishment that you were thinking of patronizing. Just order it and stay at home.”

Gabriela Mendez can be reached at gabriela.mendez@spartans.ut.edu

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