Greenland widens alcohol bans in order to control spread of COVID-19

A file photo of Kulusuk in Greenland’s Sermersooq municipality. (Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP via Gettty Images)

Alcohol bans went into effect in three additional Greenland municipalities on Wednesday after requests from their respective mayors.

The bans will be in effect in the municipalities of Kujalleq and Sermersooq until February 9.

In Qeqqata municipality, the ban will run until February 1 and is an extension of a previous ban that began on January 11. 

Mayors in the municipalities say COVID-19 restaurant and pub closures have led to an uptick in home gatherings where large amounts of alcohol is being served.

“This negative development in the consumption of alcohol in the home not only affects children and family life, but also entails an increased risk of spreading Covid-19, as one is less aware of the risk of infection at gatherings where alcohol is drunk and people are close together,” the government said in a statement on Tuesday.

Excess alcohol consumption at house parties straining services 

COVID-19 has put increased pressure on everyone from the police to health care providers, and home parties are putting increasing demand on services already strained by the pandemic.

“There is a high degree of alcohol intake at home parties,” the government said.

The result is these parties often place a significant resource burden on the Health Service and the police, in the form of many different tasks, which are directly related to an excessive consumption of alcohol. These include violence, public intoxication, public disorder, sexual assault and drunk driving accidents.

“In light of this and the widespread COVID-19 spread with unknown infection chains, the Government of Greenland has decided to accede to the request from the municipalities and impose a temporary ban on the sale and serving of alcoholic beverages.” 

As of Wednesday, Greenland was reporting 125 new active COVID-19 cases.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn@cbc.ca 

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Canada’s Northwest Territories reports 15th COVID-19 death as active cases decrease, CBC News

Greenland: Greenland gov grants mayor’s request for alcohol ban amidst rising COVID-19 cases, Eye on the Arctic

Sweden: Swedish government announces new restrictions following sharp rise in COVID-19 cases, Radio Sweden

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