The athletes village in this year’s Olympics will house 11,000 Olympic athletes and 4,400 Paralympians. Organizers are considering making the village alcohol-free. The measure is being considered due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Japan is currently in a state of emergency due to the ongoing pandemic. The emergency order is set to end on June 20 but could be extended. Many bars and restaurants in Japan are closing early with a temporary ban on alcohol sales.
The Olympic Games organizers will decide on the alcohol policy by the end of this month. But evidence is clear that it is a good idea to make the athletes village alcohol-free considering alcohol’s lethal interaction with COVID-19.
- Alcohol increases the health and societal problems arising from the pandemic. For example, alcohol weakens the immune system and makes people more susceptible to infections. And alcohol-centric social contexts have been COVID-19 super spreader events.
- Alcohol increases the burden on healthcare and emergency services which are already stretched due to the COVID-19.
- The alcohol industry exploits the pandemic to change alcohol laws to their private benefit.
Early on in the pandemic the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended reducing alcohol availability to curb the COVID-19 pandemic and reduce potentially severe complications of the virus.