New Delhi: In an order Friday night, the government allowed stores that provided nonessential goods and services to the general public to open as of Saturday amid the coronavirus blockade imposed to contain the spread of the infection. While the neighborhood opening and independent stores can now start their services starting Saturday, the big question for people locked up is whether liquor stores and bars have been able to start their services as well.
According to the government order, bars and liquor stores cannot sell or serve alcohol.
The Ministry of the Interior (MHA) has issued the closing relaxations for the stores that are included in the ‘Stores and Establishments Act’. The ministry has also clarified that alcohol comes under a separate clause and not under the Stores and Establishments Law.
The reopening of any bar selling liquor has not been allowed.
Previously, two states, Assam and Meghalaya, allowed liquor stores to open in the first phase of closure, which was from March 25 to April 14. However, liquor stores in the two northeastern states were ordered closed on April 15.
The central government, in its guidelines for the blockade issued on April 15, made it clear that there should be a strict ban on the sale of liquor, gutka, tobacco during the blockade.
On Friday night, the government allowed the opening of neighborhoods and independent stores, including those located in residential complexes within municipal areas, but with a strength of 50 percent and after taking the necessary precautions.
All registered shops regd under Shops & Establishment Act of respective States/ UTs, including shops in residential complexes, neighborhood & standalone shops exempted from #lockdown restrictions.
Prohibited: Shops in single & multi brand malls pic.twitter.com/NNz9abgWdA
— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) April 24, 2020
However, the stores in the markets, the multi-brand and single-brand shopping centers located in municipal areas will continue to be closed until May 3.
The stores that will be able to open from Saturday will compulsorily have 50 percent strength of the workers who wear masks and who follow the social distancing.
Hot spots and containment areas have not relaxed.
MHA REJECTS PUNJAB GOVERNMENT’S REQUEST TO OPEN LIQUOR STORES
The Union Interior Ministry on Thursday rejected the Punjab government’s request to open liquor stores in the state during the shutdown.
The request came after the Interior Ministry made it clear in its revised consolidated guidelines that no liquor store will be allowed to open anywhere in the country.