Retail Drinks Australia has announced that the restriction on consumers’ alcohol purchases in Australia, introduced following the Covid-19 outbreak, has now been lifted.

Retail Drinks Australia is a national industry body, which represents the interests of packaged retail liquor stores in the country.

The lifted limit restrictions will be effective from 28 April.

Retail Drinks Australia CEO Julie Ryan said: “The specific purpose of the restrictions was to demonstrate coordinated industry leadership by liquor retailers and to pre-emptively address concerns regarding panic-buying.

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“After monitoring data closely over the last month, we can report that despite early elevated purchasing following initial announcements of Covid-19-related restrictions, we have seen purchasing trends flatten and return to near-normal.”

“Retail liquor trading has returned to 2019 levels, and in many cases is actually significantly lower. On average, liquor retail sales in April are up to 15% lower than this time last year and Easter trading was also up to 10% lower than the 2019 Easter trading period.”

Ryan explained that the temporary restrictions on consumer purchases served the purpose of alleviating concerns regarding potential panic-buying of alcohol.

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For many years, alcohol consumption in Australia is said to have been going down and a short one-week increased purchasing has been associated with the fear of bottle shop closures and has done nothing to change that, explained Ryan.

Ryan added: “A few small surveys suggested that there is a risk of increased alcohol-related harm during this crisis, but they didn’t actually ask people how much they were drinking, so this doesn’t tell us anything relevant about Australian’s drinking habits.

“When you consider the huge reduction in liquor sold in Australia from the complete decimation of the on-premise industry in pubs, clubs, restaurants and cafes, the return to 2019 trading levels in retail means that total liquor sales in Australia are actually significantly reduced from prior years.”