Long queues were seen outside liquor outlets in Mumbai and Pune on Monday, a day after the state government said shops of non-essential items, including liquor, will be allowed to open in COVID-19 non-containment zones, but to the dismay of the customers, they remained shut.
The confusion was apparently due to a contradictory communication from the excise department, a shop owner said. A senior state government official said no order has been issued to keep these liquor shops closed.
What’s worse is that people clearly forgot to maintain distance and stood in the long queues for hours even after the government had laid down guidelines for the same.
State Excise Commissioner Kantilal Umap earlier appealed to the people not to crowd around shops, maintain physical distancing, etc, but nobody seemed to care.
The government has stipulated a six-feet physical distance, each customer to sanitise his hands before the purchase, the shop must sanitise the vicinity after every two hours, work with 50 percent staff all sporting gloves, masks, etc, and the working hours would average from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra has risen up to 14,541 while the death toll stands at 583.
The Centre on Friday extended the ongoing nationwide lockdown till May 17, while allowing different sets of relaxations in red, orange and green zones.