In early December 2020 the government decided to extend the state of emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic in the country by 30 days lasting till January 11, 2021.
As of December 9, 2020 public alcohol consumption and the sale of alcohol in markets and dispensing windows outside restaurants have been banned. Restaurants, clubs, bars and similar establishments, including dispensing windows are set to an 8:00 PM curfew which also reduces alcohol availability.
The World Health Organization (WHO) details the risks of alcohol consumption during COVID-19 in a set of FAQs published by their WHO European Regional Office.
Limiting alcohol availability is recommended by the World Health Organization during COVID-19 lockdowns. Alcohol use undermines COVID-19 preventive measures such as physical distancing and protective mask wearing. In addition, reasons for reducing alcohol availability during the pandemic include:
- Alcohol weakens the immune system making people more susceptible to infections such as coronavirus.
- Alcohol is a risk factor for many non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which are known to lead to more severe progression of coronavirus infection and increase the risk of death from COVID-19.
- Alcohol-related diseases, injuries and accidents place avoidable strain on the healthcare system and emergency services which are at capacity due to the pandemic.
Considering the high alcohol burden in Czechia evidence-based measures improving alcohol availability and affordability benefit people and society, specifically in the current COVID-19 public health crisis.
According to a poll conducted by the research agency MEDIAN on behalf of the Czech Ministry of Health:
- The average Czech consumes 14.4 liters of pure alcohol a year, which is twice as much as the global average.
- Czech men are consuming four times more alcohol than women.
- Every third person thinks that consuming small amounts of alcohol during pregnancy is okay.
- Every twentieth person in the Czech Republic consumes alcohol shortly before going to sleep.
The previous Health Minister of Czechia was amidst preparing a draft bill that would better regulate advertising of tobacco and alcohol in electronic media. Further progress on the bill has not been reported. The Czech government did increase taxes on hard liquor by approximately 13% which came into effect in 2020. However, beer which is the mostly consumed type of alcohol in Czechia was unaffected by this tax increase.