Meghalaya government allows opening of liquor stores for five days, starting from April 13, 2020 Credit: Representational image

Shillong: There’s finally some relief for liquor stores after the sudden downing of shutters in Meghalaya amid the national lockdown over COVID-19 pandemic. The state government on Saturday approved the opening of wine shops and bonded warehouses from Monday [April 13] to Friday [April 17], from 9 am to 4 pm.

In the order, however, the commissioner of excise laid down a few guidelines to be followed by the wine shops and bonded warehouses.

As per the order, stated wine shops should be made personally responsible by deploying their staff to ensure social distancing of at least 1 metre between customers, cough etiquette and to strictly follow all directives issued by the health and family welfare department with reference to the COVID-19 crisis.

The movement from one locality or village to another will be prohibited and only one person per household will be allowed to visit the wine shop for purchase. The wine shops may work with bare minimum staff and provide hand sanitizers to customers and staff while handling the bottles and cash.

The order also prohibits overcrowding; staff of a particular wine shop may direct the customers to other nearby wine shops within the same locality/village.

The wine shops will have to extend full cooperation to the district administration, police, excise, etc. Deputy commissioners (excise) will deploy excise officials to monitor the compliance of directives issued by the health & family welfare department.

The deputy commissioners of respective districts may issue detailed instructions accordingly. DCs may also decide the areas where wine shops are to be kept closed keeping in mind the transmission risk of COVID-19.

Also, home delivery of liquor would be allowed in areas without wine shops for which modalities could be worked out by the respective DCs. As such, the wine shops/ delivery partners who are interested to undertake home delivery of liquor must register themselves with the respective DCs, and get their approval.

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