Liquor stores and paan shops will be allowed to function in green zones while ensuring a distance of six feet from each other and ensuring that not more five people are present at one time at the shop, said the MHA in its order.
The government on Friday extended the lockdown by a further two weeks, and listed out a number of activities that are permitted in the three zones – Red, Orange and Green- depending on the risk profiling of various districts. There had been a huge demand among the public for the opening of liquor shops and finally, The Ministry of Home Affairs released new guidelines saying liquor shops will now open from May 4 in Green Zone, while maintaining a distancing of six feet from each other. Also, not more than five persons should be present at one time inside the shop. Green zone areas are districts with either zero confirmed cases to date, or have no confirmed case in the last 21 days. Standalone shops will be allowed to sell liquor in orange and green zone as well as to those located outside hotspots or containment areas even in the red zones, but with certain conditions. “Liquor stores and pan shops will be allowed to function in green zones while ensuring a minimum six feet distance (2 gaz ki doori) from each other and ensuring that not more than five persons are present at one time at the shop,” the statement from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said.
Till the time lockdown, 3.0 is in place, i.e., until May 17, 2020, no person will be allowed to consume paan, gutka, or any tobacco product in public places.
The directive comes a little relief to the state governments as excise duty on liquor sales is a major revenue driver. According to AIBA, March-June accounts for 50 percent of annual beer sales and that they have already lost over 25 percent of sales for the year – a loss of nearly Rs 15,000 crore.
Stay safe and don’t forget to wash your hands frequently!