After the government has released a late-night order on Friday on the relaxation on lockdown allowing the opening of shops providing non-essential goods and services to the general public, confusion was created over the opening of liquor shops.

Many had figured out that the liquor shops will be operational as the government allowed the operationalization of non-essential items shops.

Thrashing the speculations, the Ministry of Home Affairs has issued a press note saying that the sale of liquor continues to be prohibited as specified in the National Directives for COVID-19 management.

Further, the Ministry gave the clarification on its yesterday’s Order yesterday on amendments in the consolidated revised guidelines on lockdown measures to allow the opening of shops.

The government further said the order implies that all shops, except those in shopping malls, are allowed to open in the rural areas while, in urban areas, all standalone shops, neighbourhood shops & shops in residential complexes are allowed to open.  Shops in markets/market complexes and shopping malls are not allowed to open.

It further said that the shops are being allowed to operate will mandatorily have 50 per cent strength of workers wearing masks and allowed social distancing.

During the first phase of lockdown, two Northeast states — Assam and Meghalaya — were allowed to open the liquor shops.

However, these two states had also shut the liquor shops in the second phase of the lockdown.

On Thursday, Punjab had requested the Centre to allow the sale of liquor, a request which was rejected by the government.