New Delhi: Long queues were seen outside liquor stores this morning as several states across India decided to re-open the outlets that were closed when a “total lockdown” began on March 25 to check the spread of coronavirus of COVID-19.
Last week, as the shutdown was extended for a second time by another two weeks, the Home Ministry said that except in containment areas, standalone liquor shops can re-open across the country. These shops should not be located in markets and malls in urban areas, the government said, adding that minimum six-feet social distancing should be ensured, while no more than five people will be allowed inside a shop at a time.
In east Delhi, police were forced to shut shops as people flouted social distancing norms. Cops were seen resorting to use of force in areas such as Kashmere Gate and Narela where huge number of people gathered in groups. The national capital that has over 90 containment zones has reported over 4,000 COVID-19 cases, 64 deaths.
In neighboring Haryana, the shops remain shut as the district excise and taxation department has not received any fresh directive from the state government. Like Haryana, Punjab has also not allowed the resumption of sale of alcohol.