Liquor shops re-open: Boozed kick off Lockdown 3.0
The Ministry of Home Affairs(MoHA) announced about the extension of lockdown on May 1,2020 while lockdown 2.0 was nearing it’s end on May 3,2020 eventually. Lockdown 3.0 started from yesterday(May 4,2020) and ends on May 17,2020. Unlike the previous two lockdown, 3.0 was very different as it offered many relaxations to the people of India.
Lockdown 3.0’s first dawn was more like an alarm to get boozed than like counting the first day of third phase of lockdown. This is because of the re-opening of the liquor shops on Monday(May 4,2020) which was totally shut down during previous lockdowns. The MoHA declared that the state-running liquor shops can be re-opened at limited zones in the districts across the Nation based on the decision of State-running Governments. MoHA tabulated the available hours of liquor shops and also certain rules, such as:
- the re-open is applicable to only standalone shops and malls or shopping complexes will continue to remain closed.
- the Customers customers should maintain a two metre distance while buying liquor.
- there should be not more than five persons near the shop.
- opening time in morning may differ in states but should close at 7pm.
MoHA also announced the movement of individual for non-essential activities is permissible between 7 am and 7 pm.
Initially, Assam re-opened the liquor shops on Saturday(May 2,2020) from 11 am to 5 pm the day after MoHA announced about the guidelines for lockdown. People of Assam bought liquor from shops without any mess by maintaining social distance. But, the wake of May 4,2020 wasn’t expecting that from the people across the Nation.
In most of the regions across the Indian states people were seen to flood towards liquor shops and wait outside since very early in the morning. Because, this is the first time the liqour is available during a ongoing lockdown since March 24. Once when the doors opened the rules about social disatncing vanished in the air. People were not at all maintaining social distance and were pulling and pushing each other. In certain areas, people was given a mild lathi charge by police for crossing the rules stated. Literally, in many regions we were able to find queues lenghthier than a kilometre outside the liquor shops.
In Uttar Pradesh, the liqour shops opens between 10 am to 7 pm. An official said that, people should stick to the social distancin rules with not more than 5 persons at a time in liquor shops.
Initially the liquor shops in West Bengal were allowed to re-open only in green zones. However, after a meeting between West Bengal government officials on Monday(May 4,2020) the announcement was made about the re-opening of liquor shops in the both green and orange zones. The liquor shops in West Bengal will be available between 10 am to 6 pm. West Bengal also have imposed a sales tax of 30% on MRP (i.e,) actual price of the liquor bottles across categories.
The liquor shops from various parts such as Maharahstra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Chattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh were opened eventually yesterday. Despite different places they appeared the same with people with long queues, flocking in crowd, breaking social norms and quarreling with each other.
Scenes at the liquor shops in our capital was the highlight of yesterday’s re-opening. People showed up to the liquor shops as massive crowds which led to close the shops immediately. The liquor shops at Delhi is available between 9 am and 6:30 pm. Due to the massive crowd and Delhi been in red-zone already the Delhi Govt have decided to impose 70% tax to the actual price of the liquor which will be active from today(May 5,2020).
Despite the 70% tax, liquor shops in Delhi were found crowded and people started to wait outside the shop earlier from the morning.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan had earlier made it clear that liquor shops, malls, beauty parlours and barber shops will continue to remain closed in the state until further notice. Whereas, their neighbor TamilNadu have declared about re-opening of liquor shops from May 7, 2020. It is notable that, people from TamilNadu border moved to buy liquor from Andhra borders’ liquor shops yesterday.
After seeing the massive crowds and breaking of ‘social distancing’ norms, the Andhra Pradesh Govt rises liquor prices by 50% which is now taking the total overall hike in price of liquor to 75%. The revised rates will come into effect from today(May 5,2020) afternoon.
Experts say that, this is a move from Government’s side to re-boost the economy which is stumbling due to the corona virus pandemic.