Takeaway alcohol sales restricted in Western Australia

25 March, 2020 by Deborah Jackson

The Western Australian Government has imposed temporary restrictions on takeaway alcohol in a bid to halt the panic purchasing of alcohol in the State.

The temporary restrictions, which became effective upon announcement at 10am AWST 25 March, will be implemented for a minimum two-week period and will then be reviewed.

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A statement issued by Premier Mark McGowan’s office outlines that takeaway alcohol will be limited to the following amounts, per customer, each day:

  • One carton of beer, cider or pre-mixed spirits (11.25 litres); or
  • Three bottles of wine (2.25 litres); or
  • One litre of spirits; or
  • One litre of fortified wine; or
  • A combination of any two of the above (but not a combination of two of the same product).

TheShout has fielded enquiries this morning from suppliers unsure of what these restrictions mean for the sale of cask wine in Western Australia. And it is our understanding that according to the above mentioned literage requirements, two-litre casks would be permitted to sell, whereas four and five-litre casks would not.

The temporary restrictions have been imposed by the State Government in consultation with the WA Commissioner of Police. There was no prior consultation with industry nor was there time to prepare and educate consumers about the changes.

LSA WA CEO Peter Peck says that the announcement came as a surprise and was very disappointing.

“The police have not consulted with us and it surprised the industry, but we will work with the State Government and we have given our commitment to the Premier to work with the Government at this very difficult time,” said Peck.

“These are temporary measures only and there is no need to panic, there is plenty of supply available in stores. We just ask the public to be kind to the staff, these measures have been brought in by police and we will do our best to work with them.”

Premier McGowan says that the restrictions are not intended to stop people from having a responsible drink and that the purpose is to assist with the COVID-19 response and ensure that hospitals are well resourced to manage increased pressure.

“Alcohol-related issues take up an enormous amount of resources in our health system. These are resources we simply cannot afford to spare during the COVID-19 situation.

“We expect our hospital system to be under pressure in coming weeks, and we need as many hospital staff as possible on hand to assist.

“I also don’t want to see a situation where Western Australians move towards buying up large amounts of alcohol during times where they may be staying at home for extended periods, to adhere to social distancing rules. This only will result in problems throughout our society that we cannot afford right now.”

The Australian Hotels Association (AHA WA) and Liquor Store Association (LSA WA) are working with licensed venues across the State to ensure the newly announced restrictions on take-away liquor sales are understood and implemented.

AHA WA CEO Bradley Woods said these restrictions are very disappointing and will be difficult as they will create more foot traffic into venues.

“So far the hospitality industry has been hit with a massive tourism industry shutdown, domestic shutdown of food and beverage services on-premise and now a restriction on sales, all of which are imposing devastating harm on our industry,” said Woods.

“It is critical that venues can maintain takeaway trade and delivery services to minimise job losses and cater to genuine community needs.

“There are over 1,000 licensed venues across the state that have the capacity and the legal right to offer takeaway and delivery alcohol and we strongly encourage the Government to not damage these businesses anymore and resist calls for other businesses to also offer take-away alcohol.

“Whilst these restrictions are regrettable, we have given our commitment to support Premier Mark McGowan in his efforts to maintain order and contain the spread of COVID-19, whilst still trying to protect the viability of our hospitality industry.

“We are trying hard to keep venues open in some capacity so it is critical that no further restrictions are placed on WA businesses, particularly in cases where there are no such restrictions in other Australian jurisdictions.”