It seems like the whole of India was waiting for this news. The Ministry of Home Affairs extended the lockdown guidelines by 2 weeks on Friday. However, the guidelines also saw some changes, with focus also on resuming normalcy and kick-starting the economy while continuing our fight against COVID-19
One of the main changes to come out of the lockdown guidelines was the decision on the opening up of liquor stores and pan shops.
The sale of alcohol was allowed in some parts of the country, in areas where the virus isn’t as virulent as other regions. However, this does not mean everything is back to normal. They are new guidelines on where and how alcohol can be purchased. Here’s everything you need to know about it.
Alcohol Sale Resumes In Green And Orange Zones
The government moved to permit alcohol sale in green and orange zones in the country from 4th May, apart from allowing resumption of liquor sales in rural areas. This means that as long as you’re not living in the designated 130 red zones in the country, alcohol sale will resume in your locality.
To see if what your area colour is coded in, click here.
A CNN-News 18 source revealed that standalone shops are expected to open in orange and green zones. However, for shops in inside malls or shopping complexes, there’s bad news as permission hasn’t been given to them to resume operations
Online alcohol sale may also be not far off. A report by the livemint.com how state governments may be looking to start home delivery and e-retailing of alcoholic beverages. Delivery partners such as Zomato and Swiggy may also be roped in for the same.
Alcohol sale is not the only one that is set to resume. Even the sale of paan, tobacco and gutka is allowed provided social distancing and proper safety precautions are observed. Barring containment zones where there is a total ban on public movement and only essential services are allowed, liquor shops are expected to open everywhere.
What About Red Zones?
Despite the government’s order, there remains some confusion on whether alcohol sale is allowed in red zones areas which are not classified as containment zones. The government has permitted standalone (single) shops in urban areas, neighbourhood (colony) shops and shops in residential complexes to remain open irrespective of the fact whether they are selling essential or not essential goods.
It was later clarified that alcohol sale will resume in the red zones as well, as long as the region is not in the containment zone. Only liquor shops in market places will remain shut while all other such as the standalone shops and stores in colonies will be allowed to open.
New Guidelines For Buying Alcohol
However how you buy alcohol or tobacco is going to change as well, signalling a shift towards a new normal.
Shops have been asked to allow a maximum of only 5 people in the shops at once. In addition to this, Shops selling liquor, paan, gutka, tobacco etc. will ensure a minimum six feet distance from each other.
The International Spirits & Wines Association of India (ISWAI) is the regulatory body the represents the case of several large alcohol companies such as Pernod Ricard, Bacardi etc. The apex body has announced that it will work with the local state governments to ensure that strict social distancing measures are followed while alcohol sale takes place in the permitted areas.
The executive chairman of the body has promised that safety precautions such as regular sanitization of stores and provision of masks and gloves for both shoppers and workers will be adhered to.
This decision to allow alcohol will come as a respite to both alcohol aficionados as well as the alcohol suppliers. Many people had resorted to buying alcohol in black during the lockdown, which pushed the prices to unimaginable highs
The decision also supports those who are employed in the industry and have a business in. The sector employees millions of people and contributes about Rs2.5 lakh crore in annual taxes via alcohol sale to state and central governments. Resumption of alcohol sale will go a long way in kick-starting the economy and allowing business hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic to get back on their feet.
Therefore alcohol sale will resume in almost all of India. Even cities which are red zones such as Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata etc. will see liquor stores open as long as they are not in market places.
However, if you’re looking to buy alcohol in your region, make sure to check the state guidelines on alcohol sale as well. This is because, under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, states have the power to make COVID-19 containment measures stricter if they deem fit