Liquor stores re-opened across India on Monday. But many shops in Delhi were shut again as huge crowds gathered outside the outlets, flouting social distancing norms.
Similar scenes were being reported from other parts of the country. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal previously had said that it was time for restrictions to be relaxed in the city, saying it was time the city "learned to live with the coronavirus". Minimum six-feet social distancing should be ensured, while no more than five people are allowed inside a shop at a time. the government said. Nearly 100 liquor shops were permitted to open in the national capital that has over 90 containment zones. In Maharashtra, the worst-hit state in the country, only five shops selling non-essential items are allowed in each lane. Visuals from Mumbai showed long queues outside liquor stores as shops re-opened after a month.
Andhra Pradesh has allowed the sale of alcohol with a prohibition tax. "We are taking the measure to open liquor shops in the state for revenue consideration but the government is concerned about the bad effects of alcohol consumption. So we are imposing prohibition tax on that, the amount will be decided soon," Rajat Bhargava, Special Chief Secretary told reporters on Sunday. States have been pushing for liquor shops to reopen as excise duty on alcohol is a major source of income.