Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal says he will seal liquor shops, revoke relaxations upon reports of violating social distancing norms

4 May, 2020 | Priyanka Sharma

Arvind Kejriwal National

Coronavirus lockdown: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has warned that his government would be forced to seal and revoke relaxations in areas where social distancing norms are flouted.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has criticised the flagrant violations of social distancing norms in queues outside liquor shops that opened after nearly 40 days today. In his address to the citizens of Delhi today, Kejriwal said it was unfortunate to see chaos in some of the shops of Delhi today. If it continues, the government would be forced to seal the area and revoke the relaxations.

Calling the shop owners to action, Arvind Kejriwal said that they would have to take the responsibility of ensuring that social distancing is followed. Otherwise, their shops will be shut. He also appealed the people of Delhi to ensure that they are wearing masks when stepping out, practicing social distancing and sanitising/washing their hands regularly.

Long queues were observed outside Liquor shops in India today as the shops finally opened under revised MHA guidelines in Lockdown 3.0. While there is excitement among the people, it has also levelled up difficulties for authorities in ensuring that the guidelines of social distancing are being followed. More than a kilometer-long queue was observed outside liquor shops in Delhi. As a result, some of the shops had to be closed. In Delhi’s Kashmere Gate and Narela, police had to resort to lathi charge to make people follow the norms of social distancing.

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Even in Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Karnataka, people gathered in huge numbers outside liquor shops and flouted the norms of social distancing. People in Karnataka started queuing even before the shutters of liquor shops went up. The state government has allowed the liquor shops to remain open between 9 am to 7 pm with restrictions on the sale of snacks and water. Ensuring social distancing and wearing masks are made mandatory for people selling and buying the liquor.

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In Maharashtra, only a few shops in non-containment zones have been permitted to open. Maharastra Principal Secretary Bhushan Gagrani said that there are some areas in the red zone that has not reported a single coronavirus case in over a month. Those areas will be allowed to open shops selling non-essential commodities, like clothes, footwear, liquor and stationary.

The areas where the sale of liquor has not started include Puducherry, Haryana and Punjab among many others. In Lockdown 3.0, the government has permitted standalone liquor shops, barring those in containment zones, markets and malls, to re-open across the country. It has been emphasised that people must adhere to the norms of social distancing by maintaining a distance of  at least six feet and no more than five people should gather inside the shop at one time.

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