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Drinksgiving and pandemic: Double threat has groups concerned

Coronavirus in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Thanksgiving is known as a day of gathering with friends and family, but before the holiday is what some call “Drinksgiving” or “Blackout Wednesday,” which is known for heavy drinking and social gatherings. 

Some say with both the pandemic and the increase in DUI’s, it’s like a double threat. 

From the Sedgwick County Health Department to the Mothers Against Drunk Driving, they are both worried about what’s to come.

“It’s the gatherings that really create the problems with COVID,” said Sedgwick County Health Director Adrienne Byrne. 

“They’ve been cooped up, they want to go out, they want to have fun but diving after drinking can’t be a part of it,” said Adams. 

Both are concerned about what people are doing with their time away from school and work. 

“The more we drink the more uninhibited we get, the less careful we are, there are many reasons that are extremely extra high-risk behavior,” said Byrne. 

“They don’t have to work the next day, drink excessively, and at MADD, we’re concerned about then they’re going to drive after that and make it very dangerous on our roadways this holiday season,” said Adams. 

MADD victim specialist Kelly Adams said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration forecasts this holiday season to be one of the deadliest in decades when it comes to DUIs.

Health Director Adrienne Byrne said those Wednesday gatherings could cause another uptick in Coronavirus cases.

Both are stressing Kansans to just stay home. 

“We don’t want any empty seats at the table going into the next holiday season,” said Adams. 

The Kansas Highway Patrol said DUIs are typically higher on the holidays. 

Troopers said they expect fewer people at bars, because of the restrictions, and more at house parties. They will be out in full force to check for impaired drivers and keep the road safe this coming weekend.

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