In Pics: Thousands of Indians queue up outside liquor shops⁠ ignoring need for social distancing

Lines outside a liquor store in East Delhi
  • The Indian government allowed standalone liquor shops to operate between 7 am to 7 pm after the relaxation of guidelines for Lockdown 3.0.
  • Long queues were seen outside liquor shops across India, some from as early as 7 am.
  • The alcohol industry lost about ₹28,000 crore in sales during the lockdown.
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For Indians, May the 4th be with you had value way beyond the Star Wars universe. It was the day when liquor stores across the country opened shutters to finally sell alcohol after over a month.

The Indian government allowed standalone liquor shops to operate between 7 am to 7 pm after the relaxation of guidelines for Lockdown 3.0. And the excitement for this announcement was running high across the country.

Long queues were seen outside liquor shops across India, some from as early as 7 am as people went to stock up their alcohol before shops ran out of it because of the huge demand.

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Queue in Malviya NagarSahil Bhalla



“People are worried for how long this lockdown is going to continue and till when liquor shops are going to open and so they want to stock up as much as possible,” said an IT professional based out of Bengaluru, who added that the traffic today in the city seemed like nothing had happened before.

People also took to Twitter to share such photos of queues.
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On Sunday night, WhatsApp groups shared links and details about possible liquor stores that will be open in their area.

However, while the majority of these stores practiced social distancing but in some pockets in the national capital which continues to be a red zone, crowds gathered without following the rules of lockdown.

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Lines outside a liquor store in East Delhi

In Delhi’s Malviya Nagar, the police was brought in after people were seen flouting social distancing rules. Some liquor stores shut down again after police intervention.

Even in Chhattisgarh, social distancing didn’t seem to be a priority.


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But opening alcohol stores was a much needed step, say experts from the industry. “In the past 40 days, ₹28,000 crore revenue was lost. Government wasn’t certain whether the retail sale of alcohol can happen without social distancing. But for instance stores in Assam and Meghalaya opened during lockdown, but were given strict orders that the shops will shut if people don’t follow social distancing. In our inputs to the Ministry of Home Affairs, we spoke about the project safe shield we will ensure that there will be alcohol retailing with social distancing,”Amrit Kiran Singh, the Chairman of International Spirits and Wine Association of India, told CNBC TV18 in an interview.

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