Long queues at liquor shops, authorities struggle to maintain social distancing

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaUpdated: May 04, 2020, 03:18 PM IST


Story highlights

The shops were closed due to lockdown restrictions imposed to contain the spread of coronavirus.

The government's nod to open state-run liquor shops from Monday saw people lining up in large numbers outside outlets, with police personnel struggling to manage the crowd.

According to an official, about 150 government-run liquor shops have been allowed to open from 9 am to 6.30 pm in accordance with the latest lockdown relaxations given by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).


On Monday, liquor shops opened in the national capital after 42 days. The shops were closed due to lockdown restrictions imposed to contain the spread of coronavirus. In several areas like Burari, Mayur Vihar, Gandhi Vihar, Rohini and Janakpuri, a large number of people had lined up outside outlets.

Police personnel were seen trying to manage the crowd outside many outlets where more than five people are not allowed at a given time. A shop had to be be closed in Mayur Vihar in east Delhi as people failed to maintain social distancing.

The government has directed four state-run agencies, which are responsible to sell liquor, to deploy adequate marshals at these shops.

There are around 850 liquor shops in Delhi, including those run by government agencies and private individuals.

In an order on Sunday night, the excise department also directed officials to identify liquor shops, which are being run by private individuals (L-7 licensee) and fulfil conditions laid down by the MHA.
The officials have been asked them to submit a report within three days.

The government has so far allowed only those liquor shops (L-6 and L-8) to operate which are being run by four state-run agencies responsible for liquor sale in the national capital.

The department has asked agencies to coordinate with the local administration and police to maintain law and order.

According to the order, bonded warehouses have also been allowed to resume operation from 7 am to 6.30 pm.

The Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation, the Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation, the Delhi State Civil Supplies Corporation Limited and the Delhi Consumers Cooperative Wholesale Store have been given the permission to open liquor shops in public places, except malls and market complexes.

The agencies will have to give an undertaking stating that liquor shops being allowed to open will fulfil all MHA guidelines, according to the excise department. 


Long queues were seen outside liquor shops across Uttar Pradesh since Monday morning as people lined up to purchase liquor.

The queues were seen from as early as 7 am in some parts of the state capital. Some liquor outlets made circles outside the shops to ensure social distancing.

Liquor shops located in the hotspot zones, however, remained shut.


At some places in the city, people flocked liquor shops even before day-break and performed "special prayers" with flowers, coconuts,incense sticks, camphor and crackers in front of the stores.

Liquor outlets had been shut in the State from March 25 following the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

About 4,500 standalone liquor outlets (CL-2 and CL- 11 licence holders), which comprise wine stores and those owned bystate-run Mysore Sales International Limited, outside containment zones were allowed to be opened from Monday from 9 am to 7 pm withsome restrictions.

These include customers compulsorily wearing of facemasks andmaintaining social distancing with not more than five people inside liquor shops.

Many customers were indeed well-prepared.

At many places, they came with umbrella, raincoat, newspapers and books and queued up as early as 3 am.

At a liquor shop in Salegame Road in Hassan, the tipplers lit the traditional lamp and incense sticks, performed 'aarati' with camphor and decorated the store with the garland of flowers.

With folded hands, they all performed 'special prayers'.

In Mandya, the tipplers queued up before Martaanda liquorshop before dawn.

An hour before the sales were to resume, a fewpeople burst crackers in celebration.

Some tipplers in Belagavi were more "enterprising."

They went to a liquor store on Sunday night itself, performed special prayers and placed their "representatives" in the form of slippers, bags and stones in the "social distancing boxes" they themselves had drawn sothat they don't have to stand in queue in the morning.

An elderly woman Dakamma was the centre of attraction in Shivamogga. 

The bent body did not bend the determination of this spirited lady, claimed to be 96-year-old, who was heard saying "liquor is good for health."

At the taluk headquarters town of Brahmavara in the coastal Udupidistrict, the queue of the booze lovers was reported to be almosthalf-a-kilometre.

Long queues were seen at liquor stores at Mariyappana Palyaand K R Puram, among others, in Bengaluru.

The store managers too were no less cautious while dealing with customers in the COVID era.

They let the customers enter after spraying sanitisers in their hands, and allowed only those who had worn masks and maintained social distancing.

To maintain law and order, authorities had deployed policemen in good numbers at these stores and they were seen on duty ensuring that customers maintained social distancing.

(compiled from agencies)