Christian Action League
April 29, 2020
Tuesday, The North Carolina General Assembly reconvened to take-up important legislation that seeks to provide relief to the state’s citizens during the COVID 19 pandemic.
Read our latest report: Lawmakers Hash out Funding to Deal with COVID 19.
House Bill 1043: Pandemic Response Act would make various changes to the law related to the COVID 19 public health crisis, as recommended by the House Select Committee on COVID 19, Continuity of State Government Working Group. HB 1043 and its recommendations cleared its last committee this afternoon and now heads to the House floor for a vote tomorrow at noon.
One provision of the bill, Section 5.4.7(a&b), would authorize the Chairman of the ABC Commission to allow for curbside sales of mixed beverages for off-premises consumption, including delivery. The mixed beverage would require a secure lid or cap, sold only with food, and limited to two servings per meal or food item ordered. This section of the legislation would expire on the date Executive Order 116 by the Governor is rescinded.
Although the Christian Action League is sympathetic to the struggle of many restaurants across the state, the League is opposed to this initiative and urges you to contact your lawmaker in opposition to it as well.
- Drinking During the Pandemic is Already Sky-High. Allowing for Curbside Sales Creates an Additional Unnecessary Public Health Hazard to the Current Pandemic.
According to various media reports, people are coping with the current crisis by turning to booze. Recent reports show that U.S. sales of alcohol have risen by 55%. Online sales across the country are up by 243%. The Charlotte Observer has reported that in Mecklenburg County, the sale of spirits in ABC stores has had a 30% jump in sales. Overall, North Carolina liquor sales have jumped by 21%.
Governor Cooper’s executive order has made ABC stores an “essential business” and people may already find their choice of alcoholic beverages, whether beer, wine, or liquor, readily available. But by creating additional outlets with curbside sales of mixed drinks, the state is only increasing the probability of dangerous drinking levels that will exacerbate alcohol-related problems, creating an additional unnecessary public health hazard to the current pandemic.
- The Current Health Crisis Poses Unique Challenges for People Suffering from Alcoholism or an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)
With the threat of COVID 19, people with problematic drinking behaviors face:
- Drinking to cope with their anxiety, which is one of the worst reasons to drink.
- Loneliness brought about by social distancing (An untended cause of social distancing is that it isolates these folks from their usual support systems, which help them avoid alcohol abuse. Studies have also shown social withdrawal increases loneliness and depression, which are also significant factors associated with alcohol abuse.)
- Risk lowering their immune system health and, therefore, the potential for increased susceptibility to COVID 19. (There is a clear association between excessive drinking and a weakened immune system, particularly when it comes to an individual’s susceptibility to respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia.)
- North Carolina Ranks the Highest of any State in the Union for People Drinking While they are Working from Home During the Coronavirus Crisis.
A recent survey by Fishbowl, a group that focuses on workplace trends, reports:
“North Carolina had the highest percentage answering with Yes, with 47.7%. Following closely behind were Oregon (47.58%), Connecticut (47.41%), Colorado (46.93%), and Washington (46.3%).”
This fact certainly doesn’t bode well for North Carolina’s productivity at a time when our citizens need to be their sharpest, and productivity doesn’t need to be diminished any more than it already is.
- Impaired Driving Seems Much More Likely with this Proposal.
The temptation to open and drink “straight-hook” style from a sealed bottle while driving is negligible; the temptation to open expertly-prepared-to-be-tasty drinks seems much higher.
- Underage Drinking Seems Much More Likely with this Proposal.
Wearing masks during the pandemic certainly presents new and unique challenges for those required to check IDs and prevent underage sales. In other states, such as Pennsylvania, where delivery of mixed drinks has been allowed, there have been problems with delivery drivers not properly verifying an individual’s age.
- The Proposal Works Against the State’s Overarching Goal of Keeping Emergency Rooms and Hospitals Freed Up.
This step to expand sales pushes the likelihood of the increased need at a hospital ER or the treatment of other pressing issues requiring hospitalization for alcohol abuse.
TAKE CHRISTIAN ACTION:
Please contact your state Representative by phone or email before noon today. Ask him or her to amend out of HB 1043, Section 5.4.7(a&b).
If you don’t know who represents you in the North Carolina House, go to this link and follow the simple prompts: https://www.ncleg.gov/FindYourLegislators