"It's a time of great social anxiety and stress. Being in a confined environment, being under stress and maybe having concerns around one's future, financials, security or work - these are all factors that pose considerable risk for vulnerable people." Director of the National Drugs and Alcohol Research Centre Professor Michael Farrell told the ABC.
"If people are isolated or contained in their apartment, they're more likely to consume more [alcohol]. People don't have the normal constraints of going to work and maintaining routine, so there's less supervision and more capacity for people to do things they wouldn't normally do," said Professor Farrell.
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A representative of independently-owned liquor retailer Jim's Cellars said they noticed a large spike in the number of sales across all of their stores with the most popular choice being wine. However Jim's Cellars noted that now people seem to have secured their stockpiles, sales have returned to normal.
To combat the issue, a number of alcohol retail chains across Australia have started signing onto a voluntary code devised by bottle shop industry body Retail Drinks Australia and in place from today.
“We know that consumers like to feel certainty of supply during times of crisis, and our members want to do their part to encourage people continuing to purchase alcohol responsibly as they normally would. However, it was clear that uncertainty on the impact of supply following the closure of pubs, clubs and restaurants last week caused some people to purchase differently," said Retail Drinks CEO Julie Ryan in a media release announcing the initiative.
“We want to now send a clear message bottle shops remain an essential service and there are no issues of supply. These temporary measures will ensure that all consumers can continue to access their favourite drinks when they decide to make a purchase.”
The code does not apply in Western Australia where strict purchasing limits already apply.