In a late-night order on Friday, the government allowed shops providing non-essential goods and services to the general public to open from Saturday amid the coronavirus lockdown imposed to contain the spread of the infection.
While the opening of the neighbourhood and stand-alone shops have now been permitted to start their services from Saturday, the big question for the people in lockdown is if the liquor shops and bars, too, have been allowed to begin their services.
According to the government order, the bars and liquor shops will not be allowed to sell or serve alcohol.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued the lockdown relaxations for the shops that come under ‘Shops and Establishment Act’. The ministry has also clarified that alcohol comes under a separate clause and not under the Shops and Establishment Act.
No bar selling liquor has been allowed to reopen.
Earlier, two states — Assam and Meghalaya — allowed the opening of the liquor shops in the first phase of lockdown, which was from March 25 to April 14. However, the liquor shops in the two Northeastern states were ordered to shut down from April 15.
The Central government, in its guidelines for the lockdown issued on April 15, made it clear that there should be a strict ban on the sale of liquor, gutka, tobacco during the lockdown.
The government on Friday night allowed the opening of neighbourhood and standalone shops, including those located in residential complexes within municipal areas, but at a 50 per cent strength and after taking necessary precautions.
However, the shops in market places, multi-brand and single-brand malls located in municipality areas shall continue to remain closed till May 3.
The shops that are being allowed to open from Saturday will mandatorily have 50 per cent strength of workers wearing of masks and following social distancing.
No relaxations have been given to the hotspot and containment areas.
MHA REJECTS PUNJAB GOVT’S REQUEST FOR OPENING OF LIQUOR SHOPS
The Union Home Ministry on Thursday rejected the Punjab government’s request for the opening of liquor shops in the state during lockdown.
The request came after the Home Ministry made it clear in its consolidated revised guidelines that no liquor shop will be allowed to open anywhere in the country.