Mumbai: Over-the-counter sale permitted in liquor shops now

In an important decision, the BMC has allowed liquor shops in the city to begin counter sales of alcohol.

Mumbai: Over-the-counter sale permitted in liquor shops now

Amidst the coronavirus crisis in Mumbai, in an important decision, liquor shops in the city have been permitted to begin counter sales. In the past, only home delivery of alcohol was allowed.

Even though the over-the-counter sale of alcohol increases the chances of the coronavirus spread, in a bold move by the BMC, it has now been permitted. However, these new relaxations came amidst indications that the number of fresh cases of coronavirus in Mumbai is more or less stabilizing since the last few days.

Apart from permitting the sale of liquor at shop counters, the civic body stated that the home delivery of alcohol will be allowed in accordance with the guidelines. The BMC warned filing of criminal cases against owners of shops and persons found violating its directives. Referring to the national directive for COVID-19 management, the BMC said consumption of liquor, paan and tobacco in public places is not allowed.

The civic body has also allowed shops to remain operational all sides of the road, seven days a week. Earlier, the shops would open on an odd-even basis.

While outdoor sports are being permitted as well, the movement of people for non-essential activities are being confined within the locality one resides in. The BMC directed that unrestricted movement will be permitted only for work reasons or health emergencies. Moreover, any person violating COVID-19 containment norms can be proceeded against as per the provisions of Section 51 to 60 of the Disaster Management Act 2005 besides legal action under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code.

On July 29, the Ministry of Home Affairs had authorized new guidelines for the third phase of the Unlock, which has kicked in from August 1. The process of phased re-opening of activities has been extended and ensures further dilution of the coronavirus-induced lockdown. Despite Unlock 3, strict lockdown will be enforced in containment zones across the country till August 31.