Chaos outside liquor shops; social distancing norms not followed

A senior police officer said shops that failed to maintain social distancing have been ordered to shut down

Updated - June 09, 2020 05:24 pm IST

Published - May 04, 2020 01:11 pm IST - New Delhi:

A woman in a queue at a liquor shop in Delhi.

A woman in a queue at a liquor shop in Delhi.

Hundreds of people turned up outside liquor shops that opened after 47 days in the capital, leading to chaos as social distancing norms were not adhered to and police in some areas had to resort to crowd controlling measures.

A senior police officer said shops that failed to maintain social distancing have been ordered to shut down. Shops in East Delhi were closed after chaos. In North, East and South Delhi, police used mild force to disperse crowd for failing to maintain social distancing.

With only a select number of shops open, those looking to buy alcohol had to first find a shop that was open and then join a serpentine queue.

“I have visited four wine shops in the area but they are all closed, I have been walking from one shop to the another and finding the shutters down. I came early hoping to avoid the rush but looks like there are none open near my neighborhood,” said Vivek, a resident of Jangpura.


In other localities where the shutters were open, residents complained about the chaos that the opening of shops has created. In C-Block Market of Vasant Vihar, long queues were seen outside a liquor shop that prompted the Vasant Vihar Welfare Association to bring to authorities’ notice the situation, saying no social distancing was being maintained and that authorities were totally ignorant about the situation.

The excise department said 150 shops out of around 800 liquor shops were permitted to be opened on Monday . “Liquor vends in malls, market complexes, markets and also the ones in containment zones remain shut as per government orders,” an official from the Excise department said.

A report prepared by the Delhi Police after reports emerged about social distancing not being maintained, suggested that the management of the wine shops ensure that proper markings on the ground are made for the public to stand while waiting for their turn.

"They must have staff volunteers for proper crowd management and for making an announcement through the public announcement system. The management must ensure regular sanitization of the premises and install cautionary boards. QR scan code should be promoted for the payment of the liquor. And covered dustbins must be placed at these places," the report says.

The report also suggested that the timing for the sale of wine may be extended to avoid the crowding and sufficient stock of liquor should be available in shops as people will purchase more than their requirement.

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