Andalucia is located in Southern Spain and is the most populous and second largest autonomous community of Spain. The High Impact Public Health Alerts Council, also known as the Committee of Experts chaired by the head of the Andalusian Executive, Juanma Moreno, the Junta de Andalucía, decided to ban alcohol sales after 6:00 PM across the territory. This ban came into effect on February 13, 2021 through an Official Gazette of the Junta de Andalucía (BOJA).
The measure is applicable to any alcohol products with alcohol volume above 21%. It was implemented to reduce the spread of the virus through reducing gatherings centered around alcohol consumption.
Even prior to the ban the hospitality industry had a curfew of 6:00 PM, but alcohol was available for off-premise sale through supermarkets. With the new sales ban alcohol products with alcohol content over 21% cannot be sold after 6:00 PM in off-premises either.
Many countries in the European region implemented time-based alcohol sales bans and other alcohol sales restrictions to contain the spread of the coronavirus, especially during the second wave of COVID-19.
Defending the efficacy of alcohol sales bans
Jesús Aguirre, the Minister of Health for Andalucía, has defended the regional government’s decision to prohibit the sale of alcohol temporarily. He explained the new rule was aimed at preventing parties and illicit gatherings.
Such alcohol sales bans help to reduce the spread of the virus as alcohol-centric occasions have been found to be hotspots for COVID-19 spread in the wider community. This is due to people being less likely to adhere to COVID-19 preventive measures such as mask use and physical distancing in alcohol-using occasions.
Additionally, limiting alcohol availability protects the health of citizens as alcohol weakens the immune system and makes people more susceptible to viral infection. It also protects the capacity of health and emergency services by reducing alcohol related injury, violence and hospitalizations in the community.
Early on in the pandemic when many governments introduced lockdowns, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued guidance to member states to limit alcohol availability in order to help contain the outbreak, protect health service capacity and promote people’s health.
Euro Weekly: “Andalucia To Prohibit Alcohol Sales After 6pm Daily“
Euro Weekly: “Andalucían Health Minister Defends Alcohol Ban“