You Are Invited to an Interactive Dialogue: Alcohol and COVID-19: A Dangerous Mix - May 8, 2020: 2:00-3:30pm ET

What are Interactive Dialogues?

Interactive Dialogues are a series of virtual meetings hosted by USAPA in order to foster the spread of ideas and greater connection among those working in the field of alcohol policy. The Interactive Dialogues are intended to create a space where members of community alcohol and other drug coalitions, local and state public health departments, and other ATOD prevention and public health practitioners can gather and discuss timely alcohol policy issues. Sessions will include a panel of 2-3 people with expertise on the given topic. Panelists will provide short introductory comments followed by facilitation and moderation of questions and discussion by members of USAPA. There will be significant opportunity to discuss live and pre-assembled questions from the audience with the goal of taking action on these issues. 

Description of USAPA's first Interactive Dialogue

In early March, 2020, the U.S. was hit with the global pandemic of COID-19, which has affected the lives of millions of Americans. States and local governments have issued a variety of “shelter in place” and “stay at home” orders, nearly all of which ban on-premise food or alcohol consumption and the subsequent closure of bars and restaurants to patrons. These unforeseen and new challenges have led to new approaches to alcohol sales in many states, including the sale of to-go cocktails, direct shipping, and alcohol delivery through food service apps. At the corporate level, companies such as Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors have pledged to engage in a range of “good will” efforts including helping to financially support employees who are out of work. 


This interactive dialogue will discuss some of the state and national changes in alcohol availability as a result of COVID-19, and serve as a listening session for the other alcohol industry friendly measures occurring at the state and local level. Participants will hear from experts and will have ample time to share their own experiences. The key findings from this discussion will result in resources that can be shared with the broader alcohol policy and prevention field. 

Session Objectives

This first Interactive Dialogue offers an opportunity for prevention practitioners to:


  • Learn about and better understand the harms associated with changes in alcohol availability as a result of an unexpected pandemic, including the increasingly blurred line between on and off premises sales;
  • Share emerging changes to alcohol sales that will not only impact alcohol-related harms in the short-term, but have the potential to set dangerous precedents that will damage the three tier system long-term; and
  • Discuss ways communities can take action to prevent the harms associated with increased access to alcohol.
  • Discuss ways to ensure that temporary policies do not become permanent.
  • Consider possible data collection to make the case about alcohol related harms.

Application of Research Findings to Action

Community coalitions, public health departments, and local prevention organizations can play an important role in ensuring that the public’s health and safety is maintained and harm from alcohol is minimized, especially as the country battles other new and emerging threats. There is important work to be done at the local and state levels to bring a more balanced public health approach during the pandemic. Presenters and participants will discuss possible actions that acknowledge the financial challenges confronting local retailers encouraging the maintenance and establishment of evidence-based alcohol policy. 


  • David Jernigan, Ph.D., Professor – Boston University School of Public Health
  • Cassandra Greisen, Director of Public Policy - National Alcohol Beverage Control Association
  • Steven Schmidt, Sr. VP of Public Policy and Communications – National Alcohol Beverage Control Association




  • Traci Toomey, Ph.D, University of Minnesota; Co-chair USAPA Advisory Board
  • Michael Sparks, MA, SparksInitiatives; Co-chair USAPA Advisory Board

For More Information and to Register, click here.


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