Will wine shops be open in Mumbai, Pune, Thane and Navi Mumbai? Health Minister Rajesh Tope says alcohol can be sold while maintaining social distancing

In a move that will gladden many hearts, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Monday evening announced that liquor shops could now stay open.

Liquor shops in the state can now stay open, as long as they follow social distancing measures.

The news is based on a response given by Tope on a Facebook live video on Monday. When asked a question about whether alcohol shops could remain, Tope said: "If social distancing is properly maintained, there should be no ban on it."

However, it's imperative note that this is a Facebook live and the Minister was perhaps giving his opinion. It must also be noted that no formal decision has been taken so far.

Watch the full interaction here. The alcohol specific question incidentally comes at around 34 minutes.

Even as the second phase of lockdown was announced, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs issued an order to all States and UTs stating that all the prior restrictions would continue to remain in force. This meant that substances like gutka, tobacco and alcohol have been banned.

A few states however had made exceptions prior earlier. Recently, according to a CNBC-TV18 report, The Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies has written to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, recommending that wine shops and distilleries be opened in a phased manner.

The Maharashtra government however had been hesitant to allow wine shops to open in the state.

Further details awaited.

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