Why are liquor stores considered ‘essential’ during COVID-19 pandemic? Here are 5 reasons

Liquor stores continue to thrive, despite pandemic

FILE PHOTO. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File) (Rick Bowmer, Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, one type of business that seems to have had an increase in activity is liquor stores.

This has led many to wonder why liquor stores are considered “essential” businesses, particularly when alcoholic beverages are sold at grocery stores to begin with and can just be purchased there.

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But diving into the issue more closely, the reasons why liquor stores remain open and thriving become a little clearer, even if they are debatable to some.

Here are five reasons why it can be beneficial for liquor stores to remain open during the pandemic.

Closing liquor stores could lead to more crowded hospitals.

This is an extreme circumstance since many just drink casually, but it’s still possible, considering some people depend on alcohol for relaxing, since it is considered a depressant, according to Vice.

If liquor stores are closed and the options for alcoholic beverages become more limited, it might cause withdrawals for those people.

Those withdrawals can lead to symptoms such as agitation, a rapid heartbeat, high blood pressure and possibly even hallucinations. If that occurs, then trips to the hospital are a near-certainty, with some cases forcing patients to be placed into a medically induced coma that requires intubation and ventilators.

With some hospitals already being full and ventilators in short supply due to COVID-19, having to admit patients for withdrawal symptoms is the last thing doctors and nurses want to do.

Liquor stores are a money-maker for the government.

In short, taxes on alcohol bring governments on all levels a TON of money.

In 2018, revenue from alcohol taxes amounted to more than $10 billion, according to Statista.

That’s a significant amount of cash the government wants to keep flowing into its coffers.

Many liquor stores sell food.

Not only are liquor stores a prominent place for people to buy snack food, but several also offer carry-out menus that people order from frequently.

Given this, liquor stores technically fall under the category of “food and agriculture” on the level of grocery stores and pharmacies, and thus, are considered essential.

Grocery stores don’t have the selection of liquor stores.

It’s likely that grocery stores won’t have that select brand of wine from Italy, a certain bottle of vodka from Russia or case of ale from Scotland - just to cite some examples - that some enjoy.

Factor in that extra tax money brought in by those specialty brands that grocery stores might not, and it’s no wonder many prefer liquor stores to stay open.

Psychological well-being

It was 100 years ago that the prohibition of alcohol was instituted in the United States, enraging many citizens who didn’t want to be told they couldn’t drink, and caused many illegal activities.

As people cope with being quarantined due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they don’t feel it’s the proper time to be restricted from alcohol or go without liquor stores, according to Psychology Today.

The article said that the United States is a country “steeped in alcohol,” with consumption of drinks taking place in times of celebration, relaxation and when times get tough.

Casual drinkers turn to alcohol for some slight comfort, with the article saying “There’s no doubt there would be a massive uprising if liquor stores were ordered to close.”

As long as it doesn’t lead to greater problems, many feel having a drink or two is a great way to cope with the sadness that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought.

Do you agree that liquor stores should be considered essential, and thus, be allowed to remain open? Let us know in comments below.

About the Author

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.

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