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.
When the lockdown was enforced on March 24, the sale of liquor and opening of liquor stores were prohibited by order from the central government. While the government extended the lockdown till May 17 by an order a May 1, the liquor shops were allowed to open ensuring strict social distancing norms.
However, as visuals from across the nation suggest, obeying social distancing is not something that most alcohol starved people have in their minds while rushing to liquor shops.
A video from Chandra Nagar, Delhi shared by News 18 shows a large crowd creating chaos infront of a local liquor shop. People are seen falling over themselves, pushing shoving and completely ognoring 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.
In Karnataka’s Mandya, police reportedly had to lathi-charge to control the crowd gathered outside liquor shops. It is reported that in many areas of Karnataka, people had carried umbrellas, raincoats and were waiting outside liquor stores since as early as 3 am today.
It is notable here that the May 1 order by the central government has specified that the liquor shops cannot have more than 5 persons gathered at a time. The visuals emerging from across India clearly says the social distancing norms are being openly flouted and there is not much that the police can even do.