While many businesses are struggling during the COVID-19 outbreak, liquor stores are thriving because people are turning to spirits to boost their spirits during these difficult times.

On March 20, Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered that all non-essential businesses shut down in the state. Liquor stores were not on that list.

Peter Slisz is the general manager at Pascale's in Dewitt. He was even a bit surprised that his store was deemed “essential.”

“It seems like that one it’s for social unrest. People are cooped up in their houses, there’s not a lot to do,” Slisz said. “Having a drink can help people feel relaxed and not so crazy in their house. And then the other thing is alcoholics.”

I talked to St. Joseph’s cardiologist Dr. Russell Silverman, who gave me some more info on that.

“Some forward thinking people felt that if we take the alcohol away from people who over-consume and are basically addicted to alcohol that they may go into alcohol withdrawal which would only add another level of complication to an already stressed healthcare system,” said Silverman.

Looking at the numbers, according to Nielsen, liquor sales nationally went up 55 percent by March 22, which is good news for Slisz.

“We’re doing the most deliveries we’ve ever done plus curbside pickup so we have fewer people in the store but we are doing more business,” said Slisz.

The fact that the alcohol business is booming is concerning for Dr. Silverman, especially since in-person AA meetings aren’t an option anymore for most.

“I would hope that when this is over we don’t see an upswing in alcohol addiction although I expect there will be a price when this is over,” said Slisz.

Alcohol addiction can lead to problems like liver and heart damage, ulcers and high blood pressure. To avoid those complications, avoid over-pouring, or having that extra drink even in the safety of your home.

“Moderation means only six ounces or eight ounces of wine a night," Silverman says.

“It’s no different than when you’re going out for a drink. If you want to have one to ease the tension in your house have one to relax through all this craziness, but don’t go crazy and compromise your immune system,” said Slisz.

People who are not feeling well during the outbreak should stay away from alcohol, and focus on drinking nourishing fluids.