The Polish government has introduced new alcohol sale restrictions to limit the spread of COVID-19. The new restrictions come at a time when the country is experiencing an increase in coronavirus case load.

The Polish government has introduced a time-based alcohol sales ban of 7:00 PM. This means alcohol will not be sold after 7:00 PM. The alcohol availability rules were improved to help curb the spread of coronavirus which has accelerated again in Poland.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced that there will be no further lockdown like before, however different sets of coronavirus rules were coming back along with the yellow and red zones which are COVID-19 high risk areas.

As Movendi International reported, Poland was already facing high levels of alcohol harm before the pandemic. In 2019, alcohol consumption reached a three decade high in the country.

As the Global Burden of Diseases Study for 2019 reported, the failure of public health systems across the world to address preventable risk factors such as alcohol use, left the world population highly vulnerable to the pandemic. Addressing these risk factors can therefore help in pandemic recovery and in promoting long term health of populations.

Improving alcohol availability rules during the pandemic is recommended by the World Health Organization. There are several reasons why communities benefit from alcohol availability rules during the ongoing pandemic, these include:

  1. Alcohol increases the risk of infection and risk of more severe COVID-19 disease progression,
  2. Alcohol weakens the immune system, and
  3. Alcohol-related injury, disease and violence increase the burden on healthcare and emergency services which are already near or over capacity.

Adding to the existing harm, the high levels of anxiety and stress due to the pandemic are driving Polish people towards unhealthy coping mechanisms such as alcohol use. In the long-term this could mean a new wave of alcohol problems occurring alongside the pandemic. Accessing online support services to alcohol problems could help people in this time.

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