Amid surging COVID-19 cases, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced on Monday that the state government has decided to impose a lockdown in the national capital from 10:00 pm on April 19. The lockdown will last till 5:00 am next Monday (April 26).
Among the various places that will remain closed during the course of the lockdown are liquor shops. This means that Delhiites won't be able to buy alcohol from these shops during the lockdown. Bars and restaurants will also remain closed during this lockdown.
These liquor shops were also shut during the nationwide lockdown which was imposed by the Centre in March 2020. Liquor shops were closed in the country for 8-12 weeks.
"I appeal to Delhiites to follow lockdown which is necessary to reduce Covid cases; we will improve health system during this time," said Kejriwal upon announcing the six-day lockdown.
"In order to prevent a total collapse, L-G Anil Baijal and I took this decision. And in this duration, essential services will be allowed and more beds will also be set up," he added.
Huge crowd gathers at liquor shops in Delhi
Soon after the Chief Minister's announcement, people rushed to fill up their alcohol stock and long queues formed outside liquor shops in the national capital. People have lined up to purchase booze in the Darya Ganj, Karol Bagh and Gole Market areas, according to India Today TV. Similar scenes were reported from Khan Market, in South Delhi.
The Delhi Police was trying to control the crowd as buyers lined up at these liquor shops were flouting COVID-19 norms. Several people were seen purchasing entire cartons of booze.
A woman, who had lined up at a liquor shop in Shivpuri Geeta Colony, told ANI, "I have come here to buy two bottles of liquor as no vaccination or medicine can defend against the virus as well as the liquor."
"I have been drinking for 35 years, and have never had to take any medicine. People who drink are all safe from Covid," she added, urging the government to keep liquor stores open during the lockdown.
(Edited by Mohammad Haaris Beg)