Despite an extension in nationwide lockdown from May 4, the government on Friday allowed liquor shops to resume operations with certain restrictions. They will be allowed to open in green and orange zones, according to sources, even though the government has not clearly spelled it out in the new guidelines. Liquor shops will also be allowed outside containment areas or hotspots in red zones, India Today reported citing sources. The new norms will be effective from May 4.
The liquor and tobacco shops inside malls or shopping complexes will remain closed.
The home ministry, however, said that the shopkeepers must ensure a minimum six feet distance (2 gaz ki doori) between all customers.
"Shops selling liquor, paan, gutka, tobacco etc will ensure minimum six feet distance (2 gaz ki doori) from each other and also ensure that not more than 5 persons are present at one time at the shop," said the home ministry in the sub-section on directives for public places.
It also clarified that consumption of liquor, paan and gutka in public places will not be allowed. It further added that spitting in public places will be punishable with a fine decided by the state authorities.
After a comprehensive review, and in view of the lockdown measures having led to significant gains in the COVID-19 situation in the country, Ministry of Home Affairs further extended the lockdown for a further period of 2 weeks with effect from May 4, 2020.
All the 733 districts across the country have been divided into three zones - red (hotspots), orange (having a limited number of COVID-19 cases) and green (no cases). The government has issued new guidelines to regulate different activities in this period, based on the risk profiling of the districts of the country into red (hotspot), green and orange zones. The guidelines have permitted considerable relaxations in the districts falling in the green and orange zones.
By Chitranjan Kumar