NEW DELHI: After forty days into the national lockdown implemented to contain the spread of coronavirus pandemic, India allowed liquor shops to open on Monday resulting in chaotic scenes across cities.
The ministry of home affairs had relaxed lockdown restrictions last week which allowed liquor shops to open across the country also asking people to strictly follow social distancing guidelines while purchasing liquor.
However, commotion erupted outside many liquor vends, as scores of people thronged there to buy liquor after over a month.
Shut down liquor vends: Urge Delhi's RWAs; suggest odd-even formula
Nearly 150 liquor shops were opened in the national capital in the third phase of the lockdown on Monday. Long queues were seen outside liquor shops in the Lajpat Nagar, Lado Sarai, which led to traffic jam in the area. The liquor shop at Sheikh Sarai Phase 1 had to pull down its shutter, as the crowd became unmanageable. Residents aid that people started gathering outside liquor shops from as early as 8.30 a.m. "Many were without masks, violating the social distancing guidelines," said a Malviya Nagar resident.
The Resident Welfare Associations (RWA's) in the city have urged the government to immediately close down all liquor vends and review arrangements. Some even suggested the Delhi government to first review the situation and open the vends in proper phased manner to ensure that no social distancing norms are flouted.
"The government can adopt odd-even formula to control crowds, can think about home delivery of liquor on lines of the West Bengal government, can introduce rationing per person to prevent hoarding or black marketing," said Rajiv Kakria, member of the RWA of Greater Kailash 1.
One such unique suggestion came from the General Secretary of Green Park Extension RWA, who suggested to rope in RWAs to distribute liquor. "Even RWA's can be roped in for distribution of liquor," Puri said.
In Rajasthan, provide mobile numbers to buy booze
A large number of people were seen queuing up outside liquor shops in different parts of Rajasthan on Monday 8 am onwards although the scheduled time to open the shops was 10 am. At some places, people were seen maintaining social distancing while in other places, social distancing went for a toss with people eagerly jumping the queue. Police personnel were deployed at every shop in the urban areas to ensure customers were given sanitisers. Also, the excise department ordered that the mobile numbers of these customers be taken for any future action if required.
'No mask, no liquor' policy in Goa
Liquor shops opened on Monday in Goa after more than a month. An official said people observed social distancing rules while standing in queues outside these shops. "Wine shops across Goa opened on Monday but there was no rush as such by people. We have adopted 'no mask, no liquor' policy to ensure that social distancing norms are followed strictly," said Goa Liquor Traders' Association president Dattaprasad Naik. Goa has about 1,300 wine shops that have been closed since the national lockdown came into force on March 25.
Maha: Queues outside liquor shops amid confusion on opening
Tipplers queued up outside liquor shops in Dahisar, Matunga, Santacruz, Malwani, Kandivali and other places since early hours of Monday, but found the outlets closed. In some areas, police announced that the liquor shops will not open on Monday and asked people to go back home. Similar scenes were witnessed in Pune also. A liquor shop owner said that they got a circular from the excise department on Sunday evening, asking not to open the outlets. However, a day earlier, Maharashtra government had allowed shops of non-essential items, including liquor, to open Monday onwards.
Crowding outside liquor shops across Andhra Pradesh
People flocked outside various liquor shops across Andhra Pradesh in large numbers, flouting social distancing guidelines at several places. Crowds were witnessed at Porumamilla village of Kadapa district and Nuzividu road of Hanuman Junction town in Krishna district. People were seen gathered outside liquor shops in Ibrahimpatnam Mandal of the district but were later dispersed by the police. Muppalla village of Chandarlapadu Mandal, where a COVID-19 case was reported, also witnessed a huge crowd at the liquor store. The village is now declared an orange zone.
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