The State government is going to allow reopening of liquor shops in all zones except containment areas from Monday, subject to social distancing and other guidelines laid down by the Central government, besides reducing their number significantly.
This apart, the government has ordered that the prices of liquor be jacked up by 25% as a step towards implementing total prohibition.
These decisions were taken at a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy on Sunday.
‘Social distancing must’
Officials told the Chief Minister that liquor shops were opened in various States as the Central government found it appropriate to allow them to resume business, but stressed the need to avoid rush at the shops and maintenance of safe distance by the customers.
“Since the government has committed itself to total prohibition, incremental steps need to be taken for curbing the social evil,” the Chief Minister said.
As belt shops had been closed, focus should now be laid on weaning alcoholics away from the habit, he said. “One way to do that is to steadily increasing the prices,” the Chief Minister said. The number of liquor shops had already been reduced from 4,380 to 3,500, he added. Another step would be to regulate the sales timings, he added.
Making it clear that only migrant workers were being allowed into the State as per the Central government guidelines, Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy advised others to stay where they were instead of reaching the borders and putting themselves to trouble.
He said the government was supposed to send those coming from other States to quarantine, but providing them facilities proved to be difficult as thousands of workers were heading home.
“Those who are not migrant labourers have, therefore, been advised to stay at their current location till the extended lockdown period ends. Migrant workers being sent to their States by special trains should be taken care of properly,” he said.
Further, the Chief Minister ordered that steps be taken on a war-footing to set up quarantine facilities at the ward and village secretariats.