In the midst of panic buying ahead of South Australia’s lockdown, shoppers managed to splash their cash at bottle-o’s.
Many people – some wearing face masks – were seen leaving liquor stores with boxes of alcohol following the announcement of the COVID-19 “circuit breaker”.
As the state went into its first 24 hours of a six-day lockdown, many people questioned why alcohol shops remained open.
SA Health’s chief public health officer Nicola Spurrier said the decision was based on people who depended on drinking.
“Unfortunately, we have many people dependent or addicted to alcohol in Australia, and when they can’t access alcohol they can become very moody and have increased depression or anxiety and it could be a significant clinical problem,” she said.
“We spoke to our colleagues at Drug and Alcohol Services SA and took their advice on this, so this is based on a sound clinical decision.
“We’re saying to people when you go out and get groceries and if you need to get alcohol do it safety and still follow the directions.”
On behalf of BWS and Dan Murphy’s, a spokesperson from the Endeavour Group said both retailers increased sales on Wednesday.
“Although we did see an increase in sales in SA yesterday, it was mainly due to incorrect reports and rumours that bottle shops were going to be closed in SA during the lockdown,” the spokesperson said.
Dan Murphy’s SA state manager Todd Trezise said the number of in-store customers on Thursday significantly decreased compared with the previous day.
“In fact, today we have seen less customers in stores than we would on a normal Thursday, which is a relief for our hardworking store team members as it has allowed them to refresh and be able to restock shelves,” he said.
“We have seen an increase in customers in South Australia using our contactless delivery and pick-up options, which is a convenient and safe way to shop.
“Customers have been doing the right thing in stores – wearing masks, adhering to social distancing rules and have treated our teams with respect, so we want to thank them.”
A Coles Group spokesperson said increased customer demand at its SA liquor stores – Liquorland, Vintage Cellars and First Choice – was similar to its supermarkets on Wednesday.
“We appreciate our customers’ continued support during this busy time and ask they are respectful towards our team members in store,” the spokesperson said.
The Global Drug Survey COVID-19 Special Edition, released in September, found two in five Australians reported drinking more alcohol during the nation’s first lockdown, while the same proportion said they were drinking less.
It also found twice as many drinkers reported drinking alone while connected with friends through video/audio calls, or “watch parties”, compared with the 12 months before COVID-19.