UK coronavirus alcohol ban fears as booze shelves empty across stores

Anxious Brits fear they could soon be barred from buying alcohol after rumours swept the internet claiming a ban was imminent.

Alcohol has been in high demand, with some supermarket shelves empty as Brits fill their cabinets to get them through the lockdown.

Last week the World Health Organisation said boozing is an "unhelpful coping strategy" for dealing with stress and anxiety during the coronavirus lockdown.

But this has not stopped Brits buying up bottles and crates – and experts warn that it could be dangerous for people with an alcohol dependency to halt sales altogether.

The government has already ordered pubs to shut in an effort to prevent the spread of the deadly Covid-19 virus.

Although the rumour was quickly debunked, the fact that Greenland and South Africa have taken a similar step has got people worried.

As the false rumour spread, one Twitter user posted: "Lmaoooo my dad just received an email saying that a strict ban of alcohol has been issued in the UK and all sales will be stopped as of tonight.

"Daft s*** just rinsed the corner shop of its crates just for him to come back and get told it’s a faux."

Another wrote: "The alcohol ban in the UK because of coronavirus better be fake news bc I can not take much more of this!!!!!"

Online jokers circulated a fake letter seemingly from the government suggesting that the sale of alcohol was set to be banned from tonight.

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If such a ban was brought in, it would likely be announced in one of the government's daily briefings — and there has been no indication that Boris and co plan to do such a thing.

Another Twitter user wrote: "Telling you now, I haven’t panic bought anything but if the UK gets an alcohol ban I’ll be stocking the f*** up.

"Literally on verge of buying 20 bottles of wine and 5 crates of carling."

But one state that has made it illegal to buy alcohol is Greenland.

The government there says the new laws — which will be in force until April 15 — will prevent violence against children during the lockdown.

Prime Minister Kim Kielsen said: "At the heart of my decision is the protection of children; they have to have a safe home.”

Domestic violence reports have risen since schools closed on Monday, according to reports.

Announcing an unprecedented lockdown, the South African government also banned selling alcohol and cigarettes – and those who go jogging or walk their dogs could also face hefty fines.

Last week the WHO said alcohol was an “unhelpful coping strategy" for dealing with stress and anxiety likely to be made "worse".

And closing off licences could be dangerous for those with an alcohol dependency, an expert said.

Dr Richard Piper, chief executive of Alcohol Change UK, told The Independent: “While keeping off licences open is consistent with clinical advice to protect those who are physically dependent on alcohol from going into dangerous withdrawal, they wouldn’t want to unintentionally send the message that alcohol is ‘essential’ to all our lives.

“It’s important that the government, alcohol producers and retailers keep reminding us that it’s best to stick to 14 units a week or less.”

Daily Star Online has contacted the Home Office for comment.

  • Coronavirus

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