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Amarillo alcohol sales spike during COVID-19 outbreak

Updated: Apr. 2, 2020 at 5:31 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Liquor store sales have spiked since the start of COVID-19, and local store owners aren’t anticipating a decline anytime soon.

Since the spread of COVID-19 was deemed a global pandemic, residents immediately began stocking up on items they deemed essential, and this included alcohol.

“About three weeks ago, we started seeing an increase in business, for about a week, week and a half, and it just steadily increased, increased, increased," said Charles Leard, owner of M&R Liquor Store.

Now that Mayor Nelson has issued the Shelter-in-Place order for Amarillo, those sales continue to spike.

“There’s been lots of increased traffic early on when it was first announced, and ever since then, there’s been an increase," said Scott Sturgeon, owner of Party Stop Liquor Store.

Leard says a huge factor in the increase of alcohol sales is a result of local restaurants and bars being closed down forcing many residents to stay home and drink.

“All the bars and restaurants are shut down, you can’t go and drink at a bar or restaurant, so a lot more people are drinking at home, obviously. I think it’s going to be pretty constant. We are at a higher level than we normally are," Leard said.

Leard says liquor stores aren’t just being used for alcohol consumption, he says many residents are coming in to purchase high proof vodka to make hand-sanitizer and coming in to stock up on water and food.

“We’ve been able to keep well supply, but there are a few things we’ve run out of. There’s a high proof vodka type alcohol, it’s called Everclear, that people are using for hand sanitizer. We’ve run out of that for a while," Leard said.

Store owners are also encouraging residents not to panic and overstock on alcoholic items, because they are essential businesses and will remain open throughout the remainder of the Shelter-in-Place order.

“Everybody kind of had that, ‘oh I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’ve got to hurry and get my supplies now,’ and so one, they don’t have to get out," Sturgeon said. "I think the fear is that these places are going to be closed so that they couldn’t get access to it, so they wanted to stock up.”

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