Lazarus project in Leuven, Source: Lazarus project /

Leuven catering staff get trained in responsible alcohol serving

Leuven catering staff get trained in responsible alcohol serving

Alcohol abuse by clients can seriously hinder the efforts to contain Covid-19

Belgium entered Phase 3 of its lockdown exit plan on Monday, which allows for the gathering of groups of people, visiting catering establishments like cafés, bars and restaurants. The threat of Covid-19 remains present, however, so the authorities appealed for responsible behaviour and respecting strict sanitary standards.

But this is easier said than done and some situations, typical of catering establishments like alcohol abuse, may seriously undermine the efforts of clients and staff to protect themselves from the new coronavirus. That is why Leuven decided to pay special attention to the issue and train its staff on how to handle the irresponsible behaviour of clients.

A safe restart of the catering industry in Leuven

The Belgian city and the catering industry announced on Wednesday that they have begun training in responsible serving and handling of alcohol. In the coming weeks, more than 400 industry members will learn and practice ways to influence consumption on their premises and serve drinks in a smart way.

Supervised by a trainer, the participants will be presented with realistic situations through a high-tech experience. The course provides text, explanations, tips and tricks on how to deal with drunk customers, how to prevent risky situations, how to recognize the different types of drinking motives, how to 'read' the different stages of alcohol intoxication, and so on. The course also pays attention to alternative drinks, such as non-alcoholic beers and refreshments.

The courses take place in the unique Health House experience centre in Heverlee and have been developed through an extensive partnership of ten actors, united under the Lazarus project. The implementation is financially supported by the AB InBev Foundation, the city of Leuven and Horeca Forma.

The Smart Drinking pilot project Lazarus aims to reduce irresponsible alcohol consumption in the city of Leuven by 10 percent by the end of 2020. The classes start from June 15, 2020 and can be attended by catering managers and staff free of charge upon registration via

This makes Leuven the first Flemish city to focus on responsible drinking and drinking behaviour, which is an essential part of the safety strategy for reopening of the catering industry, explain the municipal authorities. Apart from Leuven, the Lazarus project and its “level-headed approach to drinking” operate successfully in Brasilia (Brazil), Zacatecas (Mexico), Johannesburg (South Africa), Jiangshan (China) and Colombus Ohio (United States).



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