NEWS
04/05/2020 3:39 PM IST | Updated 04/05/2020 3:40 PM IST

Social Distancing Thrown To The Wind As India Rushes To Buy Alcohol

As photos emerged from across India of people standing in close proximity to buy liquor, Twitter questioned if the government had thought this through.

On Monday, a pressing concern for many Indians was addressed when alcohol shops were finally allowed to open shop—subject to certain restrictions—after more than a month. Immediately, hundreds of people queued up in front of the shops, some with proper social distancing à la grocery shops, and many without.

Liquor shops are among non-essential services the Narendra Modi government has given the green signal to as India begins lockdown 3.0 to deal with Covid-19

Photos and videos shared from across the country showed that while in some places people did maintain some distance, in others, they were packed together like sardines. Some enthusiastic drinkers even burst firecrackers to convey their joy. 

News agencies, journalists and citizens also took to Twitter to show scenes from alcohol shops where the lines were as long as a kilometre.

Alcohol has been a point of contention during the lockdown—the Kerala government even unsuccessfully proposed that people could buy alcohol by furnishing doctors’ prescriptions—and it was unsurprising that the reopening would be marked by massive crowds.

Police personnel struggled to control crowds in several areas, raising questions about whether the move could have been planned better.

MANJUNATH KIRAN via Getty Images
People queue at a liquor store in Bangalore on May 4, 2020.
SAJJAD HUSSAIN via Getty Images
Police disperse people lining up to buy alcohol near a liquor shop in New Delhi on May 4, 2020. 

The News Minute reported that in Andhra Pradesh, people had queued up long before the opening time of 11 am.

Many people took to Twitter to question whether the government had planned for the expected rush as liquor stores opened after 40 days.  

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