In early March, 2020, the U.S. was hit with the global pandemic of COVID-19, which has affected the lives of millions of Americans. States and local governments have issued a variety of “shelter in place” and “stay at home” orders, nearly all of which ban on-premise food or alcohol consumption and the subsequent closure of bars and restaurants to patrons. These unforeseen and new challenges have led to new approaches to alcohol sales in many states, including the sale of to-go cocktails, direct shipping, and alcohol delivery through food service apps. At the corporate level, companies such as Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors have pledged to engage in a range of “good will” efforts including helping to financially support employees who are out of work.
This interactive dialogue will discuss some of the state and national changes in alcohol availability as a result of COVID-19, and serve as a listening session for the other alcohol industry friendly measures occurring at the state and local level. Participants will hear from experts and will have ample time to share their own experiences. The key findings from this discussion will result in resources that can be shared with the broader alcohol policy and prevention field.
This first U.S. Alcohol Policy Alliance Interactive Dialogue offers an opportunity for prevention practitioners to:
- Learn about and better understand the harms associated with changes in alcohol availability as a result of an unexpected pandemic, including the increasingly blurred line between on and off premises sales;
- Share emerging changes to alcohol sales that will not only impact alcohol-related harms in the short-term, but have the potential to set dangerous precedents that will damage the three tier system long-term; and
- Discuss ways communities can take action to prevent the harms associated with increased access to alcohol.
- Discuss ways to ensure that temporary policies do not become permanent.
- Consider possible data collection to make the case about alcohol related harms.
- David Jernigan, PhD, Professor – Boston University School of Public Health
- Cassandra Greisen, Director of Public Policy - National Alcohol Beverage Control Association
- Traci Toomey, PhD, University of Minnesota; Co-chair USAPA Advisory Board
- Michael Sparks, MA, SparksInitiatives; Co-chair USAPA Advisory Board