Hard-drinking Australians were given strict warnings Tuesday to cut down on their booze intake with new national limits set to restrict buyers to 12 bottles of wine and two cases of beer per person, per day as part of a coronavirus crackdown.
Major retailers agreed to enforce the new rules limiting individual purchases as Australians went on a panicked buying spree that included raiding resources at pubs, bars and takeaway outlets called bottle shops.
The panic buying response could clearly be seen on social media:
Takeaway alcohol sales up 86% in Australia. Americans buy guns in crisis, we apparently self medicate
— jane hansen (@janehansen2000) March 31, 2020
God no! I need my fair share 6 months worth at least!!!
— saffyishere (@saffyishere) March 30, 2020
National booze limits! pic.twitter.com/RZcMDjO8hZ
— Terry Sweetman (@Terrytoo69) March 30, 2020
“It was clear that uncertainty on the impact of supply… caused some people to purchase differently,” Retail Drinks chief executive Julie Ryan said in a statement launching the restrictions.
The restrictions come as data from the Commonwealth Bank — one of the country’s biggest financial institutions — showed spending on alcohol at bottle shops jumped 86 percent last week as drinkers migrated from bars to backyards.
“These temporary measures will ensure that all consumers can continue to access their favourite drinks when they decide to make a purchase,” Ryan said.
It’s not just beer, cider and wine that have been affected by the new limits, with pre-mix spirits now restricted to two cases and bottles of spirits also limited to two bottles that cannot exceed more than two litres.
Even then some people could not get enough, fast enough:
— Brown Paper Bag (@PaperBundle) March 22, 2020
Cask wine is also on the limit list, with shoppers unable to take home more than two casks exceeding no more than 10 litres.
This is not the first time Aussie drinkers have panicked during the coronavirus pandemic.
As Breitbart news reported, earlier this month Australians faced the grim prospect of running out of beer in a matter of weeks unless the amber fluid was classified as “essential” to life and breweries exempted from a range of closures Down Under due to the Chinese coronavirus epidemic.
Beer and all alcoholic beverages were eventually decreed as essential to life.
According to the World Health Organisation, Australians aged over 15 are some of the hardest drinkers on the planet, consuming an average 12.6 litres of pure alcohol a year — second only to the Czech Republic — and much higher than the global average of 6.4 litres.
Australians are also among the highest binge drinkers in the world, with young Aussies especially aged between 15 and 19 more likely to binge after starting at an early age.
AFP contributed to this story