The Shiv Sena on Thursday took a dim view of large crowds outside liquor shops in Mumbai earlier this week, and said people should understand that liquor is “not a vaccine” for COVID-19. It is “not worth buying 65,000 COVID-19 infection cases” for earning a revenue of Rs 65 crore through liquor sale, a editorial in Shiv Sena mouthpiece ‘Saamana’ said, noting that people defied physical distancing norms while gathering at wine shops.
After the Maharashtra government on Sunday announced to open standalone shops, including of liquor, in COVID-19 non-containment zones, long queues were seen outside shops on Monday and Tuesday. Mumbai civic commissioner issued an order on Tuesday night directing closure of all non-essential services, including liquor shops, in the city.
“Their (people’s) joy of liquor shops being opened was short-lived. The administration had to order closure of wine shops. In Mumbai alone, the revenue earned through liquor sale in two days was Rs 65 crore. But on Tuesday, the city saw single day spike of 635 new COVID-19 cases and nearly 30 deaths,” the Sena said. The “side-effect” of opening liquor shops was seen in 24 hours, it said.
“For revenue of Rs 65 crore, we cannot afford to buy (have) 65,000 coronavirus infection cases…people have to understand that liquor is not a vaccinefor COVID-19,” the Marathi publication said. The administration and police had to bear the additional strain due to opening of liquor shops where physical distancing rules were not followed, it noted.
The Sena justified the government’s decision to close the liquor shops and allow only groceries and medical shops to remain open.