The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in greater Mumbai on 22 May finally issued orders allowing home delivery of liquor during the lockdown. Across-the-counter sale remains barred. The authority is not allowing deliveries in containment zones or areas where COVID-19 patients or high-risk contacts live.
“Amendment in guidelines in respect of liquor shops selling liquor in sealed bottles be permitted to operate by selling liquor to the customers by effecting delivery in view of Extension of lockdown and revised guidelines on the measures to be taken for containment of COVID-19″, BMC order said.
The order has been operational from the midnight of 22 May.
Earlier this month, BMC had allowed the opening of liquor shops but soon after ordered their closure as the order led to overcrowding and people not maintaining social distancing.
However, no over-the-counter liquor sale is permitted in the city, said the order by BMC Commissioner Iqbal Chahal. The order has come into effect today.
The Mumbai metropolitan region has a total of 581 retail liqour shops – 144 in Mumbai city and 437 in the suburbs.
The move by BMC will come as a respite to tipplers in the city. It had remained dry since the beginning of the lockdown on 25 March. Liquor sales remained banned despite some relaxations post-17 May.
The BMC has not allowed over-the-counter sales owing to the prevalent community transmission in the city — learning from the experience of other metropolitan cities which saw huge queues outside liquor vends after they were opened.
A state health department official earlier said there had been community transmissions in the city. However, there is no official word on the matter.
Several states such as Punjab, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Kerala, and Jharkhand have already allowed home delivery of liquor.
The Union Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) says Maharashtra has a total of 41,642 COVID-19 cases of which, 11,726 patients have been cured or discharged while 1,454 patients have died due to the deadly pathogen.
India yesterday recorded its biggest spike in COVID-19 cases with 6,088 new cases and 148 deaths reported in the last 24 hours, taking the count of coronavirus cases in the country to 1,18,447.
The MoHFW says, out of the total cases, 66,330 are active cases and 3,583 have succumbed to the infection. As many as 48,533 patients have been cured/discharged and one migrated to date.