Delhi tipplers break social distancing norms, lead to closure of liquor shops

New Delhi: Liquor lovers, thirsty since the countrywide lockdown was enforced on March 25, thronged the liquor shops in the national capital on Monday, as the government eased some restrictions, yet, many returned disheartened, after many shops were shut as people violated the social distancing norms.
The norms of keeping a distance of metre between two persons went for a toss at many places here.
The government on May 1 had eased restrictions, starting from today, when it extended the nationwide lockdown for two more weeks till May 17. On Sunday, the Delhi government said that around 150 liquor outlets will open from Monday.
Despite stringent measures in place, the rules of social distancing were flouted in a jiffy as soon as the shutters of the liquor shops went up at 1000 hrs in the morning.
With no fear of death or contracting Novel Coronavirus, people willingly disobeyed the rules in the national capital. Long queues were seen, with people standing hardly a foot distance away from each other.
Authorities in their order had categorically mentioned that shops selling liquor and tobacco products will ensure six-feet distance between two people and not allow more than five people at one time. Consumption of liquor, paan, gutka and tobacco in public places was also not allowed.
As the boozers were reluctant to maintain discipline, the police had to resort to mild baton-charge at some places and ultimately shut a few liquor shops where social distancing was not maintained.
A disheartened tippler, who was unable to get any liquor bottle, told UNI that he tried to maintain social distance, but there was huge rush of people. “The government or police should have made arrangements beforehand to tackle such a huge crowd”, he averred.
Another person, who was not there to buy alcohol but was observing the extreme disobedience from a distance, while speaking to UNI on the condition of anonymity, said that people here would never understand the value of life. “It is the duty of a responsible government to value that”, he said.
“Do pal ki chandni fir andheri raat (Two moments of moonlight then a dark night)”, he remarked, while swatting flies away.
Delhi has around 850 liquor outlets, including those run by government agencies and private individuals. The government’s move to open liquor shops came to restart the economy that had been battered due to the ongoing lockdown.
Across India, the COVID-19 count crossed the 42,000-mark on Monday morning, while so far, more than 1,300 people have lost their lives.
Delhi, too, has been suffering hard from the pandemic with a total of 64 fatalities till now. The national capital, just a day before, saw highest single day spike of 427 fresh cases.
The aim to collect tax from the alcohol sale in a bid to kickstart the economy, is now being questioned by many health experts, as it involved huge risk.