The province (département) of Aisne in northeast France has banned the sale of alcohol for the duration of the coronavirus lockdown.
The prefect of Aisne, Ziad Khoury, announced Tuesday that alcohol is no longer to be sold, citing ties between alcohol and violence. “Excessive consumption of alcohol is likely to create increased disturbances and violence, especially within the family,” he said.
Local media have described the new regulation as “politically awkward,” suggesting that confining people to their homes without the comfort of a glass of wine borders on cruel and unusual. The decree “will ruin all confidence in the representatives of the State who seem to use their power for personal moral ends more than for the general interest,” writes Fabrice Bluszez in Paris Dépêches.
Authorities had already closed down bars, restaurants, and cafés, but as of Tuesday even those shops such as supermarkets allowed to open are now obliged to close by 8:00pm.
The Aisne prefecture sent a copy of the decree to supermarkets on Tuesday morning, mandating that all shut down their alcohol sections. For the moment, the alcohol ban will last until March 31, but France’s political leaders have already said that the lockdown will almost certainly be extended.
So far, Aisne has seen 22 deaths related to positive tests of COVID-19.