Crowds seen at markets, liquor stores in panic buying spree

People line up outside a liquor store shortly after the Delhi government announced a six-day lockdown to curb the surge in COVID-19 cases. SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR  

The liquor stores in the city saw huge crowds on Monday after the announcement of a six-day lockdown. At some stores, the customers formed queues, but at most others, there were no social distancing norms in place.

At the markets too, a larger than normal rush was seen, as customers made a last-minute dash to stock up before the lockdown enforcement. Even though shops selling essential supplies and medicines will be allowed to remain open, people queued up saying that commuting would be a problem during the week and that they prefer to buy in advance.

At Khanna Market, there was a frenzy of shoppers in the evening. “Once the lockdown starts, it gets very difficult to move around as you are always being questioned. It is easier to buy things all at once. Based on last year’s experience, we know that things run out of stock soon,” said Shiven Nagar.

Vinod Giri, Director General, Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies (CIABC) claimed that the crowd at stores and markets was a panic reaction from the public, driven by their memory of lockdown extensions last year. He suggested steps to reassure the public by allowing home delivery of liquor as was introduced in Maharashtra and urged the Delhi government to think of such steps.

The restaurant industry that has supported the curbs by the government to curtail their in-house dining service due to rising number of cases said that the new curfew regulations don’t change anything as far as the restaurant industry is concerned. “As partners with the Delhi government in this fight against the pandemic, we once again request them to kindly smoothen and expedite the process to issue e-passes for our teams. We are sure that clear directions to the law enforcing agencies will ensure that our workers, who are also frontline warriors, are not subjected to any undue harassment by the law enforcing authorities,” said the National Restaurants Association of India. The association said home delivery, which is just a minuscule part of the overall business is currently the only avenue available and therefore, very critical.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 8:26:05 PM |

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