The government of Sweden decided to temporarily ban on-trade alcohol sales as a measure to reduce the COVID-19 spread in the country. First, from November 20, 2020 alcohol sales were banned in bars, pubs and restaurants after 10:00 PM. Then from December 24 the new policy was further improved to ban alcohol sales from 8:00 PM. The time restrictions of alcohol sales in the on-trade effectively mean that bars, pubs and other establishments serving alcohol need to close earlier.
As Movendi International reported previously, the sales ban led to positive effects concerning reductions of violence. The police of the metropolitan regions Stockholm and Gothenburg observed reductions in violent crime and robberies.
Now, new statistics show that SOS calls to the police have fallen by almost 40% in some hours. SOS Alarm produced the statistics on how many SOS calls were received by the police on Saturdays after the sales ban was introduced compared to before. The statistics show that:
- Since the 10:00 PM ban, SOS calls on Saturdays fell by 13.4%,
- Since the 8:00 PM ban SOS calls on Saturdays fell by 17.1%,
- The largest decrease is from midnight to 6:00 AM. Here, SOS calls on Saturdays fell by 30% every hour and the most at 39.7% between 4:00 AM and 5:00 AM.
The closure gives a sharp reduction in noisy activities in the public space and that is where the alarm calls normally come from,” said Sven Granat, Criminologist, as per Svenska Dagbladet [translated from Swedish].Sven Granat, Criminologist
Limiting alcohol availability during COVID-19 is in line with advice from the World Health Organization.
- As alcohol weakens the immune system, making people more susceptible to infection,
- as alcohol-centric occasions have become outbreak hotspots, and
- as alcohol harm continues to put an extra – and avoidable – strain on emergency services and healthcare systems, reducing alcohol availability is an important solution to contain the coronavirus, promote health and protect health system functioning.
Many other European nations have also taken similar measures, as summarized by Movendi International.