As wine and spirit distributors continue operating as essential businesses in the current environment, WSDI is providing the latest information to promote responsible retail practices. Below, please find resources from federal and state officials, public health experts and other guidance to share with your staff and consumers. We can all do our part to protect our community from communicable diseases like COVID-19. We will keep this page updated with helpful resources and the latest information from public health officials.

About COVID-19 

How it spreads

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.


The virus is thought to spread through person-to-person contact, typically within 6 feet of one another. 


When an infected person coughs or sneezes, respiratory droplets can spread to the mouth or noses of nearby people.

Protect yourself

Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.


If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.


Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth to prevent any type of virus from entering your body. 


Cover your mouth and nose with a bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze; dispose of the used tissue immediately.


Stay home when you’re sick. 

What retailers can do

Actively encourage sick employees to stay home. 


Place posters that encourage staying home when sick, cough and sneeze etiquette, and hand hygiene at the entrance to your store and in other places where they are likely to be seen.


Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles.


Instruct employees to clean their hands often with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol, or wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.

Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.


Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by employees before each use.

Social Distancing Guidelines

Encourage customers to stay at least 6 feet apart from others. Post signs at the entrance and around your store to remind customers and place markers on the floor near checkout lines to guide how far customers should stand apart. 


Place shield guards in front of the cashier if they cannot be 6 feet apart from customers.  


Discourage customers from gathering outside or inside their establishments. 

Prohibit the use of reusable bags.


Encourage your customers to utilize curbside pickup or online delivery if available. 


Encourage the use of credit or debit cards and other cashless methods to reduce the potential spread through money.

Learn more from the
Illinois Department of Public Health

What wholesalers can do  

Illinois wholesalers have offered the use of their trucks for professionals and first responders in need of critical equipment should that be necessary. We ask for your patience and understanding should the state need their services.  We will contact you directly if your delivery has been stalled due to emergency use. 

Wholesalers Stepping Up for the Cause

Many of our members have stepped up in the wake of COVID-19 to support those who are struggling. Below is a brief summary of some of those efforts.


Breakthru Beverage Group


Breakthru announced a $500,000 commitment to partner with local nonprofit organizations, restaurants and restaurant groups to purchase meals for front-line responders battling the COVID-19 outbreak and vulnerable populations affected by it, such as children and the elderly. Their commitment  includes a contribution to the Restaurant Workers' Community Foundation (RWCF), in addition to supporting Breakthru’s 13 U.S. markets and Canadian operations. More information on Breakthru’s efforts can be found here.


In Illinois, Breakthru has a long history of supporting the communties in which they live and work in. In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Breakthru has partnered with over two dozen restaurants state-wide to deliver meals to local hospitals and first responders who are fighitng this panedmic on the front line. 


Heritage Wine Cellars 


In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Heritage launched Restaurants Feed Heroes to support both Chicago’s restaurant industry and front-line health care workers. Operating through a Go Fund Me page, all funds raised will be used to order lunches and dinners from Chicago restaurants and deliver them to hospitals. More information can be found on their page here


Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits 


Among their efforts, SGWS has launched an online hub for trade customers, providing timely updates and important resources to help businesses in the hospitality industry navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. The website – available at – includes a host of information for a variety of audiences.


Locally, SGWS-IL employees are able to nominate a local first responder or health care entity in their home community to receive up to 30 boxed lunches.  By way of this program, employees are able to give back to their community, our essential frontline heroes are getting fed and our restaurants are receiving sales. 


More information on the industry’s response can be found on the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America website here

Support from Drizly

With the continued news about COVID-19 and social distancing, we are seeing significant structural shifts in where consumers are shopping for beverage alcohol. As on-premise foot traffic declines in cities across the nation, there's been a significant surge in alcohol ecommerce and delivery. We expect this to continue to accelerate in the near term and also lead to a new normalization of higher ecommerce and delivery sales as a % of total volume and drinking occasions.  


Drizly, the leader in regulatory compliant ecommerce within beverage alcohol, is experiencing this surge in demand in conjunction with our 2,000+ partner retailers.  Drizly's business model is to bring local retailers and their selection online, allow consumers to shop across Drizly partners online (web and mobile web) and through mobile apps, and facilitate the consumer delivery through retailer employees as well as 3rd party delivery services (state dependent).   To put the shift in consumer demand in perspective, Drizly's rate of growth has more than doubled vs. just weeks ago and in the past four days, we have seen 500% growth rates vs the same weeks in 2019.  This is a fundamental shift in how consumers are shopping and retailers need a strategy.


Importantly, we know this is a very tough time for independent and local businesses in many categories.  It's Drizly's purpose to be there when it matters and in our efforts to help you meet consumers where they are, our platform is built to drive incremental traffic, revenue, and profit to our partners.  Drizly technology allows for quick onboarding, training, and the ability to be online and offering delivery in a matter of days.  If you do have an interest in learning more, please go to (has information on our service) or email We’re also happy to work directly with you in any way that may be helpful.