Representational image
Representational image

The pan-India lockdown has been extended for another two weeks after May 4. While there will be some relaxation for parts of the country, Red zones, otherwise known as hotspots, will not benefit from all of these relaxations.

There is however good news for tipplers in some parts of the country. The Centre has now released updated National Directives for COVID-19 management. And according to these, it would seem that liquor shops are indeed soon going to be open for business.

However, this appears to hold true only for Green Zones, and Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad unfortunately do not fall into these zones.

"Liquor stores and paan shops will be allowed to function in green zones while ensuring minimum six feet distance (2 gaz ki doori) from each other & ensuring that not more 5 persons are present at one time at the shop," the news agency quoted the MHA to say.

Thus, as things stand, it would seem that liquor stores in these metro cities are not going to be open.

While the government had recently allowed some non-essential businesses in specific areas open, a PIB press release from six days ago had clarified that the sale of liquor and other items continued to be prohibited as specified in the National Directives for COVID-19 management.

With the publication of new National Directives, shops selling the aforementioned items, including alcohol and wine will now be open. Those visiting these shops will however have to maintain social distancing norms and "ensure minimum six feet distance from each other". Outlets will also have to ensure that "not more than five persons are present at one time at the shop"

Based on the MHA's latest instructions, containment zones would have intensified surveillance protocols, with contact tracing, house to house surveillance, home/institutional quarantining of persons based on their risk assessment, and clinical management. Strict perimeter control would need to be ensured, so that there is no movement of people in and out of these Zones, except for medical emergencies, and for maintaining supply of essential goods and services. No other activity is permitted within the Containment Zones.

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