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Greenland: Local Government Temporarily Prohibits Sale of Alcohol During Coronavirus Outbreak

(Mar. 30, 2020) On March 28, 2020, the Local Government of Greenland (Naalakkersuisut) announced that, effective immediately, the sale of alcohol with an alcohol content of more than 2.25% is prohibited until April 15, 2020, in the Greenlandic cities of Nuuk, Kapisillit, and Qeqertarsuatsiaat. (Selvstyrets bekendtgørelse nr. 5 af 28. marts 2020 om midlertidig forbud mod salg af alkoholdige drikke.)

According to Kim Kielsen, premier of Greenland, protecting children at home (against abuse) is at the core of the prohibition, while another reason for the prohibition is to limit further spread of the coronavirus. The premier argues that alcohol consumption makes people less cognizant of the risk of spreading the virus, and that people are more likely to meet in greater numbers when alcohol is served.

The Greenlandic government previously adopted a measure to stem the spread of the virus when, on March 24, 2020, it banned all citizens from traveling to and from the island’s capital, Nuuk, until April 8, 2020.

According to the Naalakkersuisut’s announcement of the prohibition, as of March 28, 2020, there were 10 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Greenland, which has a population of approximately 57,000.