The Delhi Police on Monday ordered the shutdown of all liquor shops in East Delhi, Northeast Delhi, Shahdara and Southwest districts, after a vendor failed to maintain physical distancing, News18 reported. The report said over 150 government-run liquor shops had been permitted to stay open between 9 am and 6 pm, following the Centre’s latest guidelines.

“The police also shut down a certain liquor store in Karol Bagh after people did not follow social distancing,” Station House Officer of Karol Bagh Maninder Singh said.

However, Deputy Commissioner of Police Jasmeet Singh said, “Police was not informed about opening of shops.”

Social distancing norms were flouted as standalone liquor shops opened across India on Monday, nearly six weeks after being shut down, amid a lockdown to combat the coronavirus. Huge lines were seen outside liquor stores in major cities, with people packed into small spaces, posing a challenge for police personnel.

Here are some photographs from Monday:

People queue at a liquor store after the government eased a nationwide lockdown imposed as a preventive measure against the coronavirus, in Bengaluru. (Picture credit: Manjunath Kiran/AFP)
People stand outside a liquor store in Guwahati, Assam on May 4. (Photo credit: PTI)
People ignore social distancing norms while standing outside a liquor shop in Delhi on May 4. (Photo credit: Reuters)
A customer carrying alcohol after buying it at a shop in Chander Nagar, East Delhi, on Monday. (Picture credit: PTI)
People queue up at a liquor store in Chander Nagar, East Delhi, on Monday. (Photo credit: PTI)

The nationwide lockdown, first imposed on March 25, was on May 1 extended till May 17. During the first phase of the lockdown, from March 25 to April 14, only shops selling essential commodities were allowed to stay open. During the second phase, which lasted until May 3, industries restarted in some parts of the country, and agricultural activity was allowed without restrictions.

Under the newest guidelines, the government has allowed even non-essential shops and some economic activities to resume in most of the country, especially in “orange” and “green” zones, which have lower numbers of Covid-19 cases. The Ministry of Home Affairs has clarified that liquor shops will be open in red, orange and green zones, except in containment areas.

However, the West Bengal government has decided that liquor shops in Kolkata will remain closed, News18 reported on Monday. The shops will be permitted to open only in “green zones”, unidentified officials in the West Bengal government said.

The Maharashtra government had on Sunday said that liquor shops will not open in four of the most-affected districts in the state, which includes Mumbai and Pune. However, later in the day, it reversed its decision, allowing the shops to open, Mumbai Mirror reported.

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