Greenland introduces temporary ban on alcohol sales in three communities

“The crux of my decision is to protect children, they must have a safe home,” says premier

Greenland’s Sermitsiaq AG newspaper reports that Premier Kim Kielsen decided on March 28 to temporarily ban the sale and dispensing of alcohol in Nuuk and two communities in southwestern Greenland. (Screenshot)

By Jane George

You can no longer buy alcoholic beverages in Greenland’s capital, Nuuk, and in two smaller communities in southwest Greenland.

That’s since the government decided last Saturday to place a temporary ban on the sale and dispensing of alcoholic beverages of 2.25 per cent alcohol by volume or more to help protect children from abuse during the lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“We have to take many precautions to avoid infection. But the crux of my decision is to protect children, they must have a safe home,” said Greenland’s premier, Kim Kielsen, in a March 28 news release.

“I hope that, as a society, we see the condition of children as a common concern, that we all contribute to a safe society.”

The ban applies as well as to the communities of Kapisillit and Qeqertarsuatsiaat in southwestern Greenland.

The move came after the closure of schools, government offices, restaurants, pubs and cultural events earlier this month.

The ban will remain in effect until 10 a.m. on April 15.

“Last Saturday we closed down all alcohol sales because we can see that there have been parties, where the official recommendations have not been complied with,” Kielsen said yesterday during a news conference in Nuuk. “There have also been cases of violence in those situations. We must avoid these incidents, which is the reason why we have stopped selling alcohol. It is one of the tools to prevent the coronavirus infection from spreading.”

After hoping to avoid the new coronavirus, Greenland had its first case confirmed on March 16 in a Nuuk resident who had travelled abroad.

The infected person went into quarantine.

And after there were more confirmed infections in Nuuk, the city, with a population about 18,000, imposed a lockdown on March 18 for three weeks.

The lockdown also includes scheduled flights.

As of today, there are 10 confirmed COVID-19 infections in Greenland.

Since the lockdown to fight the spread of COVID-19, the crisis centre in Nuuk has also experienced an increase in inquiries from vulnerable or threatened children and abused women seeking safe shelter.

Alcohol consumption at home is thought to be behind that increase in calls.

“The coronavirus situation and especially the closure of Nuuk are pushing families who are already challenged,” said a government news release on March 28.

Denmark and Greenland have found more money so shelters can cover higher staff costs, the Greenland government said.

“The government wants these women and their children to get the help they need, so they have a safe place,” said Marth Abelsen, Greenland’s minister for health, social services and justice, in the release.

In Greenland, there are eight shelters and a national treatment centre for victims of violence.

Share This Story

(9) Comments:

  1. Posted by The quality of people on

    This virus sure shows us who are the real quality people in this world. I urge everyone to just remember the good people on the front lines helping us all in this crisis, and then you have theses low quality people who abuse their families. Those covidiots.

  2. Posted by Dranky on

    Thank you!!! Someone gets it!! Nunavut, take note. Kids are home now with nowhere to hide, some of them in overcrowded houses with multiple couch-crashers. They should not be trapped with drunk adults with nowhere to go. Some kids are saying it’s worse than ever. Let the adults sort out their withdrawals at the hospital now, before covid is a problem, and let the kids have measure of security.

  3. Posted by Imagine on

    Imagine most of the good people of this world in regards to this crisis, are concerned about their families and friends. And here we are getting news about a place with,people about alcohol, and abuse to their families. The humans of this world are not equal! Nor should they be , from the evil that lives in some. But the goodness that lives in most, should be awarded.

  4. Posted by That bad on

    If it’s that bad with alcohol, then why not ban it forever. Why wait for pandemic?

  5. Posted by isolatedinuk on

    Banning the public sale of alcohol doesn’t diminish the supply and demand, banning won’t do anything except drive the consumers to find alternative sources. Alcohol withdrawal is very real and potentially very dangerous. Harm reduction has shown benefits that outweigh abstinence. Promote harm reduction!!!!!

    • Posted by Inuk on

      Some people should never have the privilege to drink alcohol. For those of us that have a culture of enjoying a nice drink or a nice cold beer, it’s insulting to see the people in the North that can’t handle an enjoyable drink and abuse their little children . Banning it might not work, but for us civilized ones, we have a goal to keep it away from idiots. We live daily with a goal to covet our drink away from them.

    • Posted by Very real virus too on

      Please allow me to tell you a truth about alcohol withdrawal and the current crisis we face with covid-19. Alcohol withdrawal is not a priority with regards to what’s going on at the moment. I don’t think any providers would refuse to help an alcoholic, but if covid-19 comes in our area, sorry, need I say more. We can see that world wide doctors are making decisions in priority. We can’t allow the need to look after the alcoholic put all our lives in danger. There would also be a public uproar against the alcohol! Unfortunately, but true.

      • Posted by yessss on

        I’m not sure what your point is. Are you saying that alcohol withdrawal is not something healthcare should be dealing with note, while there is no coronavirus in Nunavut? Is your point that the beer store, etc should remain opened at this time?
        Do you have any idea what some of these families are going through, trapped at home with raging drunks? There are children who have no internet to distract their minds with, in homes with 10 or more people, and they can’t get a break from it at school anymore, they can’t hide out in public places. They are home with their drunk creepy uncles, and wailing, screaming, angry adults. It is terrifying. And it is happening now. A neighbor kid just threatened suicide because it’s so bad, and there’s no end. And with nothing but time on their hands, many people are drinking even more.

  6. Pingback: Corona crisis: Greenland without sick people - but problems are just beginning

Comments are closed.