SAN ANTONIO – It seems the COVID-19 pandemic has led to fewer people drinking and driving, as there have been a lot fewer DWI arrests in our area.
Both the San Antonio Police Department and the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office have reported significant decreases in DWI cases since March 18, which is when the pandemic led to an emergency order that closed bars and restaurant dining rooms in San Antonio.
“It’s not just that, you know, a lot of different festivities have canceled. You got weddings, you got birthday parties,” said Officer Doug Greene, spokesperson for SAPD.
Between March 18 and April 13, SAPD reported that officers made 147 DWI arrests. Compare that to the 25 days before the mayor's order, where SAPD reported 318 DWI-related arrests.
“But nonetheless, you see that we had 147 arrests. So that still shows you that people are still out there making poor decisions to drink and drive,” Greene said.
BCSO also saw a considerable decrease. Between March 18 and April 13, deputies reportedly made 20 DWI-related arrests. That’s compared to 60 DWI arrests in the 25 days prior to the order.
Fewer DWI numbers don’t necessarily mean people are drinking less. On San Pedro Avenue, establishments that sell to-go drinks, like Beer N All, had lines at the drive-thru Wednesday.
Right across the street, Kevin Hogan, the owner of The Reggae Bar, which sells both Caribbean food and alcohol, said some people are still getting drinks to go with their meals.
“The frozen drinks have setups with 350 milliliters, small bottles, that you can mix at home,” Hogan said.
The future of dining in is still cloudy, but SAPD has a clear message for the public.
“COVID-19 is putting a halt to many things in our life right now, but it will not prevent you from taking a trip to jail if you decide to drink and drive,” Greene said.