spiritsNEWS September 2020

As Europe reopens – a reminder to drink responsibly

The impact of COVID-19 is regrettably still being felt, but spiritsEUROPE has been encouraged to see economies across Europe slowly reopen following the lockdown of earlier this year. We have been further enthused to see many governments take a hands-on approach in revitalising sectors of the economy forced to go dormant during this period – hospitality and tourism among them.

For the most part, Europeans have been acting responsible and have been moderating (or reducing!) their consumption during the lockdown. A YouGov survey of over 11,000 people in a number of countries worldwide, including the UK, France and Germany, found that 84% of drinkers were drinking less or drinking the same amounts following the lockdown. These results align with individual research surveys undertaken across European countries, which again showed the vast majority of people moderating its consumption during the lockdown (although many countries saw an initial spike in retail sales) – for example in Ireland, Belgium and the UK.  In response to the publication of the YouGov results, spiritsEUROPE Director-General Ulrich Adam stated “this adds to the clear evidence that the vast majority of people are continuing to drink responsibly and that many have cut down substantially or stopped altogether”.

We have been particularly heartened to see our colleagues in the hospitality sector make every possible effort – from encouraging the wearing of masks, to respecting social distancing guidelines – to ensure that pubs, restaurants and hotels can reopen safely and keep their customers safe. Those in the hospitality sector have shown themselves to be responsible, and we hope that the weeks and months ahead will see no further restrictions on those complying with the guidelines.

Our hopes for the next stage of the re-opening – subject of course to ensuring that our health services are well equipped and further spikes in COVID-19 are avoided – is to see the introduction of harmonised guidelines for hospitality and tourism sectors across the EU, in order to avoid confusion for our citizens and to allow Europeans to enjoy all of Europe.

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