The Centre has now allowed the sale of liquor in all zones, barring the containment zones, and only in standalone shops as the third phase of the coronavirus lockdown begins in India on May 4.
Ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a nationwide lockdown on March 24, liquor and tobacco shops have remained shut.
However, the government has now permitted these shops to reopen in green, orange, and red zones (barring the containment zones). Of course, there are restrictions in place and shopkeepers have been instructed to ensure that customers maintain a distance of two metres between each other. These shops (which fall under the non-essential category) will be allowed to stay open until 7 pm, after which you won’t be able to step out. Also, if the liquor store nearest to your places falls inside a containment zone, it will remain closed.
In Delhi, around 150 liquor shops will be reopening from Monday, outside the containment zones, as Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced on Sunday that Delhi should be ready to reopen and that people have to learn to live with Covid-19.
Now that liquor shops have reopened, people have been spotted queuing up outside the stores from the wee hours of May 4. Visuals from Delhi, Karnataka, and Maharashtra have flooded social media.
While some stores are indeed trying their best to maintain social distancing, others are unable to stop people from crowding. Some photos also show how circles have been sketched outside stores to specify where customers should be standing while waiting for their turn.
Here’s the thing – only 5 people are allowed to be present inside the store and Section 144 is still applicable in many states around the country. This raises a serious question – is reopening of liquor and tobacco stories going to lead to overcrowding?
Social media users are divided on this; for some, this is a necessity while others believe that reopening liquor stores would inevitably cause the virus to spread further.
Are people really that thirsty that they have been crowding outside liquor stories from 7am just to get their hands on their favourite booze? As these photos show, all messages from the government about social distancing and staying home have fallen on deaf ears.
Chhattisgarh: Social distancing norms being flouted as people in large numbers queue outside a liquor shop in Rajnandgaon. The state govt has allowed liquor shops to open in the state from today except for the containment zones. #CoronavirusLockdown pic.twitter.com/GfTzQP86Ip— ANI (@ANI) May 4, 2020
People queuing up outside liquor shops in Mangalore, after the state government allowed liquor stores to open in the state after 40 days.— Mangalore City (@MangaloreCity) May 4, 2020
Reportedly in some places in the district, people had begun queuing up in the night itself. pic.twitter.com/kUxLvJfFXQ
Is liquor consumption is more important than corona precaution?— Arun (@Arun_tiwari19) May 4, 2020
This video is recorded in front of liquor shop civic center bhilai. pic.twitter.com/DYILJM3j8B
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