Residents of the French department of Aisne are heading for a truly harsh coronavirus lockdown, as local authorities have imposed a blanket ban on alcohol sales. The move is for their own good, officials argue.
Announcing the decision on Tuesday, Prefect of the department Ziad Khoury pointed out that alcohol abuse often goes hand in hand with domestic violence – which, many fear, is bound to surge under the lockdown.
“Excessive consumption of alcohol is likely to create increased disturbances and violence, especially within the family”
Khoury also banned shops from working past 8pm – indeed, if you cannot fetch a cold one, why bother going for groceries at night? While the decision affects only take-out sales of the booze, all the bars and restaurants have been already shut down which effectively makes Aisne a dry department.
Despite the prefect’s efforts to portray the ban as beneficial for the residents, some have made it clear they were not looking forward to the weeks of abstinence. Netizens flocked to the official’s Twitter en mass, arguing that the ban will cause more harm, than good – all while giving rise to black markets.
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“Incompetence or dictatorial will? The measure will only have negative effects: black market, withdrawal effects, bottlenecks in hospitals, etc. A curfew would prevent gatherings. You deprive people of their liberties and endanger the population,” one wrote.
Making the lockdown intolerable for alcohol addicts, who will effectively be forced into a sudden withdrawl that can entail serious health complications is incomppasionate at best, and dangerous, some noted.
“You can’t suddenly deprive an alcohol addict of alcohol, it’s dangerous!” a commenter wrote.
“It’s a shame you put people in danger and will add more trouble for caregivers! Reverse this decision as soon as possible!” another chimed in.
Some went as far as to suggest that the prefect, who is of Lebanese origin, mulls imposing the “sharia law” in the department, with the ban on the booze being just the first of many steps.
“Sharia law on the move!” a witty netizen wrote, poking fun at the name of Emmanuel Macron’s En Marche! (“Forward!”) ruling party.
The ban will be in force at least until March 31, when the 15-day nationwide lockdown is set to expire. However, the French government has already hinted that the measure is likely to be extended beyond this date.
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