The Morning of April 4, 2020, saw poor conformance to the Lockdown rules at Chandranagar in Delhi, where people were seen standing in long queues before a liquor shop – all while ridiculing social distancing norms.
The center recently allowed the opening of wine shops in the country with certain restrictions. However, the move spelled havoc in the capital city which already includes 11 districts marked as Red Zones under it. Within hours of opening, crowds formed a long queue outside the said store while flouting social distancing norms even in the presence of police officials. On being questioned about the callous behavior by the media, one of the men stated, “We are tired of buying liquor in black and if no one is following norms why I should, let all die merrily”.
It is shocking to know that the authorities, on one hand, are doing their best to control the pandemic, while the public on the other is unable to understand the gravity of the situation, as proven by the recent gatherings outside liquor stores.
In addition to Delhi, several cities across the country portrayed a similar picture. In Pune, massive crowds were seen emerging before liquor shops after the Maharashtra government allowed the functioning of standalone Liquor shops on Monday- May 4th2020. Areas in the city such as at Bhandarkar road, Wanawdi, Salunke Vihar, and NIBM road were especially thronged by crowds in the pursuit of buying liquor.
In Karnataka’s Mandya district, police reportedly had to resort lathi-charge to control the crowd gathered outside wine shops. It was even reported that in many areas of Karnataka, people had carried umbrellas, raincoats and were waiting outside liquor stores since as early as 3 am today.
The underlying government order passed on May 1, 2020, clearly states that not more than 5 people should be gathered around the liquor shops but the video clippings coming from various cities and states portray a starkly different reality.
As per the Order, the following activities are allowed under:
- The Movement of transport for activities that are permitted, manufacturing of essential goods like drugs, medical devices, manufacturing of IT hardware, jute industry, construction (if workers residing on-site).
- Standalone shops, shops in the neighborhood, and residential complexes (essential and non-essential items).
- E-commerce activities for essential goods, private offices with 33 percent strength, operations of homes for senior citizens, children, destitute and others, government offices, and emergency, health, sanitation, and security services.
- All industrial and construction activities
- All shops except in shopping malls, all agriculture, animal husbandry, and plantation activities, health services, financial sector including banks, NBFCs, etc.,
- Public utilities, courier and postal services, print, electronic media, IT, ITeS, warehouses services by self-employed persons except for barbers.
OPDs and medical clinics are permitted to operate in red, orange, and green zones with social distancing norms during the lockdown.
Furthermore, those refusing to comply with the lockdown guidelines can be punished with imprisonment for a term extending to one year or with fine, or with both.