Are off-licences an essential service?


Sir, – While this pandemic has undoubtedly shown the best of many of our people, it has also shone a light on an issue that pervades our nation but we prefer to keep in the shadows. I refer to the fact that off-licences are deemed an “essential service”.

While one jokes about needing “a few drinks” to cope with their spouse or children in confinement, surely these beverages may be obtained from a supermarket which, justifiably, will remain open. What is the need to have shops that solely sell alcohol categorised as essential?

What do the powers that be fear? Backlash? Civil disobedience? A&Es being flooded with those going through withdrawal?

If any or all of these hypotheses are true, perhaps the time has come to examine why the idea of pubs and off-licences closing has caused such a profound impact on many in this country.

Why is our toxic relationship with alcohol not openly acknowledged, and how can we tackle this issue once and for all post-pandemic as the country gets back to its feet? – Yours, etc,