Lifting of COVID-19 liquor ban in St Lucia being considered
According to the St Lucian Commerce Minister Bradley Felix, the Government of Saint Lucia is considering lifting the suspension of liquor licenses.
“The conversation has been ongoing recently in Cabinet, so we do not know where the outcome of that will go but it is something that is being spoken about at this point,” Felix said.
The Government decided to suspend all liquor licenses and have bars closed on March 29, 2020, as part of measures to control social distancing and the spread of COVID-19.
Addressing the issue during Tuesday’s sitting of Parliament, Castries South MP, Dr Ernest Hilaire questioned when the ban will be lifted.
“I understand and support closing down the restaurants and the bars where people congregate and drink. But is there anything fundamentally wrong with somebody going to a supermarket and buying a drink to take home to drink?
Some people have contacts where they can still get alcohol, they can still get wine, but what about those of us that do not have those contacts? Some of my people (constituents) want to know when will the competent authority ease up on that, the same way they eased up on certain businesses opening.”
According to St Lucia's Prime Minister Allen Chastanet:
“The government is looking very closely at when we can announce that we would start liquor. The process would be through the grocery stores and gas stations initially and then slowly being able to bring liquor back into our market, as we become more comfortable. We’re certainly being advised by the CMO when it comes to that.”
Various members of the public have strongly objected to the decision and are of the view that the beverages could be sold at the various supermarkets for consumption at home while suspending the sale at restaurants and bars.
Some have an emotional and psychological attachment to liquor.
“The liquor may have some calming effects on some people and there will be withdrawal symptoms but it is a decision that was made with regards to the lockdown and alcohol was one of those we felt that could not be put out there,” Felix declared.