West Bengal recorded liquor sales of Rs 40 crores on the first day of reopening of standalone shops on Monday, a wine traders’ body of the state said.
Forty-two days after the lockdown was enforced, the state government allowed only “OFF” shops to reopen in all the red, orange and green zones, except those located in containment areas from Monday.
“The state registered liquor sales of around Rs 40 crores yesterday. Seventy per cent of the states liquor shops located in red, orange and green zones reopened yesterday,” said Sushmita Mukherjee, Assistant Secretary of West Bengal Foreign Liquor, ON, OFF, CS Shops and Hotel Owners Association.
The remaining 30 per cent shops are in containment zones, she said on Tuesday.
The outlets that resumed operation from Monday after 42 days witnessed unruly crowd behaviour, forcing the authorities to shut down many of them soon after they opened shutters.
“The sales figure could have been higher if the shops remained open during the stipulated hours — from 3 pm to 6 pm,” Ms Mukherjee said.
The government changed the timing and from Tuesday onwards, the shops will remain open from 12 noon to 7 pm.
“Today also people made a beeline outside shops but the crowd was manageable. Licensees have deployed volunteers to help maintain social distancing among the customers standing in queue,” Ms Mukherjee said.
She said sales of Tuesday are expected to be higher than Mondays as the shops functioned for the entire sevenhour period.
The West Bengal government last month decided to impose 30 per cent sales tax on wine and beer. The duty would be applicable to the existing stock.
The government disallowed liquor outlets located in shopping complexes to reopen. Beer pubs, clubs, restaurantcum-bars and hotel-restaurant-cum-bars will also remain closed.