New Delhi: Assam and Meghalaya have decided to open liquor shops in the states for seven hours from Monday amid the nationwide lockdown to arrest the coronavirus spread.
In Assam, aside from liquor shops, wholesale warehouses, bottling plants, distilleries and breweries shall also remain open on permitted days while the wine shops in Meghalaya will be open from 13 to 17 April.
In a notification issued by the excise department of the Assam government Sunday, Additional Commissioner S.K. Medhi said the shops shall remain open in the state on permitted days from 10 am to 5 pm. “Shops may work with bare minimum staff and provide hand sanitisers to customers and staff while handling the bottles and cash,” the notification said.
It added that the shops will also be responsible for ensuring that social distancing between customers and staff is maintained and all the guidelines issues by the National Health Mission of Assam are strictly followed.
Liquor home delivery in some areas of Meghalaya
In Meghalaya, the wine shops have been allowed to remain open between 9 am to 4 pm on permitted days, the official order to deputy excise commissioners stated Saturday.
“Only one person per household is allowed to visit the wine shop for purchase and the movement from one locality/village to another locality/village shall be prohibited,” said Excise Commissioner Pravin Bakshi in the order.
Meghalaya has also allowed home delivery of liquor in areas without wine shops, the modalities of this service will be worked upon by the deputy commissioners.
Liquor shops were earlier closed in Assam and Meghalaya after the nationwide lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 24 March.
In March, the Kerala government had issued an order to provide liquor to people with alcohol-withdrawal symptoms on producing doctor’s prescription, but the state’s High Court stayed the order on 2 April.
In West Bengal, a viral WhatsApp forward had suggested that the Mamata Banerjee government had allowed home delivery of liquor in Kolkata, which turned out to be fake.
Speaking to ThePrint in an exclusive interview, Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa said last week the state has incurred close to Rs 1,500-crore losses since the lockdown and is hence looking at opening liquor vends, one of its biggest revenue sources.
“The decision on opening liquor outlets to help generate revenue through excise will be taken after 14 April,” Yediyurappa had said.