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.
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.
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.