Night curfew lifted in Gurugram for liquor shopsUpdated: Aug 08, 2020 23:26 IST
All liquor shops in the district , except those in malls, can now operate from 9am till midnight from Sunday. Ahaatas, or drinking places next to the vends, will continue to remain shut, officials of the excise department said.
The Haryana government on March 26 had decided to temporarily shut all liquor vends across the state after the Covid-19 induced lockdown was imposed. They were allowed to reopen on May 6, but only between 7am and 7pm.
Around 218 liquor shops across the city which have been approved to resume operations.
Aruna Singh, deputy excise and taxation commissioner (East), said, “The industry has suffered huge losses during the last four months. Even after opening from May 6, sales were low. Officials at the headquarters took the decision to resume the operation on August 1,” she said. “Any shopkeeper violating the lockdown measures or directives, such as allowing ahaatas, could be prosecuted under the Disaster Management Act and the Indian Penal Code,” she said.
People at liquor shops will have to maintain at least six feet distance from one another and only five persons will be allowed to enter the shops at any given time, said officials.
The police and excise officials had in May marked out lines and circles outside the shops to ensure social distancing for this reason and sanitisers too were placed at the entrance of the shops.
Haryana Tourism Corporation had also started running six liquor vends in Gurugram last month as a pilot project to recover its losses. Singh said that it was the first time that a state government entity started to run liquor shops in the district as the tourism department suffered huge losses due to closure of tourism complexes and guest houses during the lockdown imposed to contain the spread of Covid-19. During the lockdown period, the revenue receipt of the corporation was almost nil, said an official.
Shekhar Yadav, director Reva Wines said that this move was required as they have suffered losses worth Rs 5 crore during the lockdown and this is the first time in the history that something unannounced has impacted our business. “The customers who used to buy regularly have decreased their purchase and have reduced drinking as there has been cut outs in salaries and many lay-offs have taken place. There are no longer any parties happening so the sales have come down big time. People prefer buying at night so now we might get some business back,” he said.