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Liquor Stores Deemed Essential. But Why?

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Across the country, Governors are putting very strict mandates on business practices, travel, schools and even leaving the house because of the COVID-19 pandemic. So far 16 states, nine counties and three cities have adopted shelter in place orders. 

But even states without such mandates are taking extreme precautions. This week in Maryland, for example, Gov. Larry Hogan made an executive order to close all non-essential businesses. What might seem surprising to many is that in Maryland, and most other states besides Pennsylvania, liquor purveyors are considered essential businesses. 

Aside from the economic advantage provided by keeping liquor, beer, wine and spirits stores open, it is likely a strategic public health practice that has led to this decision. 

During this time, healthcare systems across the United States and the world are taking special measures to ensure they are able to care for the onslaught of patients with Coronavirus, and it hasn’t been easy. 

If liquor stores close, we risk more people abruptly going through withdrawal which, although uncommon, can be potentially deadly. Many experiencing alcohol withdrawal choose to be hospitalized for a safer detox process. This could pose an unwelcome burden on hospitals that are already being spread thin. In an interview with NBC Connecticut, Dr. Andrew Lim, the medical director of Bristol Hospital’s Emergency Department said, “I think the thought process by the governor is that if we do close the liquor stores this could create an unnecessary problem and really cut off a needed resource.”

Finding Help During the Pandemic

The pandemic has brought on stress, anxiety and depression for many Americans who might turn to alcohol as a coping mechanism. Drinking could find its way into almost any situation. Employees of essential businesses might drink more because of being overwhelmed. Those working from home could drink more because of a lack of supervision. And the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have been laid off might find solace in binge drinking or other problematic drinking behaviors during an uncertain and depressing time.

Needless to say, for those with Alcohol Use Disorder, a pandemic could lead to their bottom.

Luckily, for those who decide they need help, there are many resources still available. Many 12-step fellowships have ceased hosting in person meetings, but have started meeting online.And many non-hospital setting detoxes remain open to ensure proper medical supervision and alleviate acute withdrawal symptoms. 

If you or a loved one is struggling, there is help. All of the Amatus Recovery Centers remain open. We offer a full continuum of addiction-related care, from medical detox, to intensive outpatient programming,to long-term aftercare. 

To find out which level of care is the right fit for you, call an admissions specialist today at 883-216-3079.