A number of people stood outside wine shops in Mumbai on Monday, following the state government's directive that wine shops would be open in red zones, unless they were containment zones.
However, despite people standing in queue, wine shops did not open. Reports have said that the excise department was supposed to have a meeting at noon today, following which the time shops would be open would be revealed.
A day after the Maharashtra government said shops selling non-essential commodities, including liquor, will be allowed to open from Monday in the COVID-19 non-containment zones, five districts in the state have decided not to permit liquor sale.
Administrations of Solapur, Aurangabad, Jalna, Buldhana and Amravati districts have issued instructions that liquor shops will not be allowed to open.
"The decision is taken in adherence to the Disaster Management Act, and to prevent any further spread of the coronavirus infection," a collector from one of these districts told PTI on Monday.
The Buldhana and Amravati administrations have also decided to continue with prohibition on liquor sale till May 17 and only allow sale of essential commodities, sources said.
Besides, several liquor manufacturing and bottling units located in Aurangabad can resume production, but the district administration has prohibited its sale.
The Nagpur civic body has also decided not to allow liquor sale in the city municipal limits, a senior district official said.
It is the civic body's decision and there are "no such instructions from the Nagpur district collector, which would mean liquor sale is prohibited in the city limits but allowed in rural areas," he said.
Liquor is a major source of revenue for Maharashtra, which earned about Rs 45,000 crore in the form of taxes on it in 2019-20, an official from state excise department said.
Here's how people stood in long queues from 9 am even as shops stay shut after noon;
While Maharashtra is yet to take a decision on the reopening of liquor shops, other states have seen booze lovers rushing to buy their favourite booze as wine shops resume the sale of alcohol on Monday. Some overexcited ones even celebrated the reopening of wine shops by bursting fire crackers in Karnataka.
And as the sale of liquor begins, social distancing seems to have gone for a toss. People seem to have forgotten the norms laid down by the government as they stand in queue without maintaining distance from each other.
Earlier, after the Home Ministry announced that the lockdown has now been extended to May 17, it also released a set of guidelines for people to follow. MHA in its statement said that "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 and ensuring that not more 5 persons are present at one time at the shop."