You can use the resources on this page to inform communities about alcohol harm reduction during the coronavirus pandemic.
HOW TO REDUCE RISK OF INFECTION:
Victorians should act now to reduce the risk of infection from coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
The situation is changing rapidly so please visit the Department of Health and Human Services website regularly for updated information.
Current measures on physical distancing:
The message people need to hear: if you can stay at home – you must stay at home.
The only five reasons you should leave home are:
To shop for food and supplies,
To exercise or for recreation,
For medical care (or to assist someone else with their care),
Or to go to work or study (if you can’t do this from home),
Visiting friends and family – if you really need to.
Some restrictions have been cautiously eased so people can look after their own and others’ health, wellbeing and social connection. From 11.59pm on Sunday 31 May Victorians are able to:
Have up to 20 family and friends at your home. For example, if you are a household of five people, you can 15 visitors.
Outdoor gatherings of up to 20 people can happen for non-contact sport and recreation in public settings, such as National, State and public parks. The 20 person limit is inclusive of your household. That means for a family of five, you can be in a group with 15 people from outside your household.
Small gatherings of up to 20 people can occur at some indoor facilities such as places of worship and community centres – along with those required to run the facilities. The four-square metre rule applies in these settings.
And we must keep at least 1.5 metres from other people and practise good hand hygiene. If you feel unwell, even if you have tested negative for coronavirus, you must stay home.
About alcohol and coronavirus:
- Not drinking alcohol at all or making sure you have no more than four standard drinks on any one day and no more than ten in a week is a great way to maintain good health.
- Consuming alcohol products increases your risk of disease and injury. The more alcohol you consume, the greater your risk. So even though life has changed due to the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), it is still important to limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
- We all know how important it is to keep pressure off the health system at the moment. In 2017/18 there were over 35,700 hospital admissions caused by alcohol products in Victoria. If we all drink at low risk levels – or not at all - we can do our bit to make sure that people working in our healthcare system can focus on treating people with coronavirus.
- Levels of anxiety often increase the day after drinking alcohol. If you’re already feeling anxious about coronavirus then it’s best to limit the amount of alcohol you consume to no more than ten standard drinks spread across the week. Instead you might want to try other activities that can reduce stress and anxiety, such as connecting with friends and family online, exercising or meditating.
- The quality of your sleep can be reduced when you drink alcohol products. This becomes more likely the more alcohol you consume. To make sure you get a goodnight’s rest try having some alcohol free days and limiting you alcohol consumption per week to no more than ten standard drinks.
Frequently asked questions
Visit the Department of Health and Human Services for more answers to frequently asked questions.
Does drinking alcohol protect me from coronavirus infection?
No. Alcohol products can have a negative impact on your immunity and limit your ability to fight off infections. Reducing the amount of alcohol you drink is not only good for your general health and wellbeing, but may also protect against infections.
Should I be drinking with my friends over apps such as Houseparty?
The social media platforms and apps that allow us to stay connected to our friends and family during the coronavirus crisis have become vital. But that doesn’t mean we should bring alcohol into the mix. Alcohol lowers immunity, increases anxiety and if consumed above low risk drinking guidelines, can increase our risk of disease or injury.
There are other things you can do instead of drinking while connecting with friends and family members through these apps. Some of the apps allow you to challenge your family members to games, share your baking fails and triumphs or take your book club online.
Should I be drinking in front of my children?
Research has found young people who are exposed to their parents’ drinking are at a higher risk of starting to drink alcohol. Role modelling low-risk drinking practices is a positive action parents and other carers can take. If you drink alcohol products at home, consider modelling behaviour that you would expect from your children.
Daybreak offers peer support from other people reducing their drinking and also includes free advice from health coaches.
To stay healthy and well, you might also want to consider taking a break from alcohol. Hello Sunday Morning has been supporting people to change their drinking since 2010.
For further support and resources visit:
Alcohol and Drug Foundation https://adf.org.au/covid-19/
Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education: http://fare.org.au/covid19/
Australian Department of Health: https://www.health.gov.au/health-topics/alcohol/about-alcohol/how-much-alcohol-is-safe-to-drink