New Year’s Eve is looking a little different this year with in-person parties strictly off-limits. But experts say despite the lack of gathering alcohol consumption is not expected to go down.
Montreal SAQ’s and SQDC’s were busy on Thursday with long line-ups and full parking lots.
Educ’alcool say it will be monitoring three types of drinking this pandemic New Year’s Eve: Those who are isolated, families and, those who are likely to drive under the influence.
Director General for Educ’alcool Hubert Sacy says loneliness can trigger people to overconsume but warns alcohol abuse cannot cure symptoms of mental illness.
“Alcohol is not a medicine to cure your stress or your desperation,” he says.
Montreal police say they will be surveilling the roads as usual, but as the province reported record COVID-19 numbers on Thursday, police expect people will be following public health guidelines.
Sacy on the other hand fears those between the ages of 18 and 34 may go overboard with their drinking on New Year’s Eve — no matter what.
“Forty-five per cent of Quebecers who have already made during the last month only had virtual aperitif and virtual dinners together. So if it becomes a challenge, I will drink to that, I will drink to that, etc, etc, there may be a sort of competition that will raise alcohol consumption,” says Sacy.
As Operation Red Nose cuts services this year due to the virus, MAAD Canada says Quebecers will have to take safety precautions into their own hands — avoid driving while impaired.
“All you have to do is stay where you are or call a cab or call an Uber or take public transport,” says Theresa-Anne Kramer, MAAD Canada spokesperson.
“We know that most of Quebec is in the red zone so in theory people shouldn’t be on the roads tonight, but there will be people going to work, there are people coming back to work, people that will be visiting their elderly parents,” says Sacy.
Educ’alcool is reminding Quebecers that alcohol abuse can increase your chances of getting sick. Sacy says the beverages weaken the immune system. “During a pandemic it isn’t a good idea,” he says.
The organization says if you plan on drinking on New Year’s Eve don’t forget to eat before drinking, drink slowly, stay hydrated and mostly importantly, stay home.