Lockdown 3.0: Forget demonetisation queues! Hundreds line up as Delhi govt allows wine shops to open

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Updated: May 4, 2020 12:34:11 PM

Liquor shop open in lockdown: The Delhi government has issued an order allowing state-run liquor shops to operate from 9 am to 6.30 pm in the city, and directed deployment of marshals at these outlets to maintain social distancing.

liquor shops in delhiDelhi government has allowed state-run liquor shops to operate from 9 am to 6.30 pm. ANI Photo

Liquor shops in Delhi: With the Ministry of Home Affairs easing restrictions to allow the wine shops to operate during the coronavirus-forced lockdown, a large number of people lined up outside several shops in Delhi and other parts of the country to buy liquor. Long queues were witnessed in north Delhi where people started queuing up outside liquor shops since early morning to stock up. Similar scenes were witnessed in the Chandni Chowk area where people were seen waiting for their turn to enter the wine shops. In east Delhi’s Laxmi Nagar area, people were also seen queuing up outside several liquor shops.

In Kashmere Gate area, news agency ANI reported that police resorted to mild lathicharge outside a liquor shop after social distancing norms were flouted by people. At Desh Bandhu Gupta Road, more than a kilometre long queue could be seen outside a liquor shop .

This comes after the Delhi government issued an order allowing state-run liquor shops to operate from 9 am to 6.30 pm in the city. It has also directed deployment of marshals at shops to maintain social distancing.

According to a PTI report, about 150 liquor shops have been allowed to open in accordance with the latest lockdown relaxations given by the MHA. The Home Ministry’s order said that liquor shops and paan shops may function in green and orange zones as well as to those located outside hotspots or containment areas even in the red zones. However, there are guidelines that should be followed for both the shops and customers. The MHA has said that six feet of distancing should be maintained from each other and not more than five persons should be present at one time.

In the national capital, there are around 850 liquor shops including those run by government agencies and private individuals.

Television reports say that liquor shops owners have made adequate arrangements for customers to wait for their turn outside the shop. To prevent rush at the shops, special marks have been drawn on the road keeping the social distancing norms in mind. Hand sanitisers are being provided to customers before they are allowed to enter the shop.

All the 11 districts in Delhi have been categorised as red zones. The national capital has reported 4,500 positive coronaviru cases and 64 deaths.

Several states had demanded from the MHA to allow the liquors to open in order to generate revenue while maintaining social distancing guidelines.

Delhi’s excise department on Sunday night has also directed officials to identify liquor shops which are being run by private individuals (L-7 licensee) and fulfil conditions laid down by the MHA. The government has so far allowed only those liquor shops (L-7 and L-8) to operate which are being run by four state-run agencies responsible for liquor sale in the national capital.

Meanwhile, in Maharashtra’s Pune, a long queue of customers were seen outside a liquor shop on Bhandarkar Road, but they returned empty handed as District Collector has not yet allowed sale of liquor.

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