The Centre on Friday allowed sale of liquor, paan and tobacco across the country, even as it extended the lockdown period for two more weeks beginning May 4. The government's plan for Lockdown 3.0, involves dividing districts across the country into Red, Orange and Green Zones. Red Zones are the ones with the most number of cases and the highest doubling rate; Orange Zones have comparatively fewer cases while Green Zones have had no cases in the last 21 days.
The restrictions imposed in a district will depend on the zone classification of that district.
The Ministry of Home Affairs said that barring containment zones, where there is strict perimeter control and almost total ban on public movement except for emergencies, liquor stores will open everywhere.
The guidelines issued by MHA do not mention any ban on opening of liquor stores in Red Zones.
The Ministry of Home Affairs clarified that liquor stores will be allowed to open in both Orange and Green Zones, including Red Zones as long as they are standalone shops not part of a market complex or a mall.
In the Red Zones, only standalone liquor stores, or liquor stores located in a colony, can open. Liquor stores that are situated in market complexes will remain shut.
This means that in cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Jaipur, Indore, and Hyderabad, which are all Red Zones because of the high number of COVID cases, liquor stores will open — unless they are located in a market.
The MHA guidline say, “All standalone (single) shops, neighbourhood (colony) shops and shops in residential complexes are permitted to remain open in urban areas, without any distinction of essential and non-essential. All shops in rural areas, except in malls, are permitted to remain open, without any distinction of essential and non-essential.”
However, it is for the states to decide whether they want to open liquor stores or not.
What is allowed outside containment areas of a Red Zone (with restrictions):
In urban areas --
Movement of people and vehicles for permitted activities, industrial establishments like SEZs, manufacturing of essential goods like drugs, medical devices, etc. and their supply chain, manufacturing of IT hardware, jute industry, construction (if workers residing on site).
Standalone shops, shops in neighbourhood and residential complexes (essential and non-essential items), e-commerce activities for essential goods, private offices with 33 per cent strength, operations of homes for senior citizens, children, destitute etc., government offices, and emergency, health, sanitation and security services.
In rural areas --
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 barbers.
What is prohibited --
Inter and intra-districts plying of buses, except those permitted by the MHA.
Permitted activities --
All activities permitted in red zone (outside containment zone), Taxi (driver with 2 passengers only).
Inter-district movement of people and vehicles for permitted activities, 4 wheelers with 2 passengers with driver, pillion riding on 2 wheelers.
All activities allowed except those prohibited throughout the country.
Buses and bus depots can operate with 50 per cent capacity.