On Monday, Joint Commissioner of Delhi Police (Eastern Range) announced that all liquor shops that were operational for a few hours in East Delhi had to be shut down, owing to the violation of social distancing guidelines by people.
As the new MHA order applicable from May 4 amid the coronavirus lockdown allowed liquor shops to open, many shops were soon overwhelmed with huge crowds fighting to get their hands on liquor, an item that had been listed ‘non-essential’ till now.
As per guidelines, people are supposed to stand in queues while maintaining adequate physical distance from each other. Along with that, it was mandated that more than 5 customers will not be present in the liquor stores at one time.
All liquor shops in eastern range that were opened today have been closed as social distancing norms were flouted at those shops: Joint Commissioner of Police (Eastern Range), Alok Kumar #Delhi (File pic) pic.twitter.com/fIOxUADl2d— ANI (@ANI) May 4, 2020
Police had to lathi-charge
The cops had to resort to lathi-charge to tame unruly mobs in Laxmi Nagar, and Kashmere Gate areas area after people flouted social distancing rules since the sale of alcohol began at 10 am. Liquor shops had to be forced shut-in places such as Mayur Vihar and Krishna Nagar. Burari and Malviya Nagar also saw a footfall of massive crowds.
The Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) has urged the government to review arrangements and stop the immediate sale of liquor in light of the violation of social distancing rules. A member of RWA in Greater Kailash, Rajes Kakria, suggested the idea of home delivery of liquor and implementation of odd-even formula to control unruly crowds.
Social Distancing Guidelines flouted in Delhi
A video from Chandra Nagar, Delhi shared by News 18 shows a large crowd creating chaos in front of a local liquor shop. People are seen falling over themselves, pushing shoving and completely ignoring social distancing norms as they fought to buy alcohol. Even if the shop had marked circles to ensure social distancing, the gathered crowd was not paying any attention to them, despite a police presence.
Another video shared by Times of India showed a similar crowd outside a liquor shop in Delhi’s Burari area. Though the people here were not fighting or falling over themselves, the crowd and the assembled vehicles clearly showed that social distancing is not something people have on their minds.