Retail alcohol outlets are all set to open from Monday (4 May) in Andhra Pradesh, with the state government the establishments to open up in both rural and urban areas, including in the red zones of the state. The outlets will opbe open from 11 AM to 7 PM. However, outlets in containment clusters/zones, and those situated in malls will not be permitted to run. The relaxation has come at a time when AP is still detecting about 60 to 80 new coronavirus (covid-19) cases over the last week or so.
According to a press release from the AP government on Sunday, all sales personnel in the retail alcohol outlets will have to function while following a set of guidelines, which include sale personnel wearing masks compulsorily, allowing only five inside at a time, displaying guidelines promptly outside the stores and also informing the local police in case excess customers gather in front of any shop. The release added that an outlet may be shut down temporarily in case such a situation arises.
“Basically, it doesn’t matter if it is a red, orange or green zone. Alcohol shops will be open everywhere except in containment clusters,” said an official from the state government, who did not want to be quoted. Allowing alcohol shops to open will also bring in some revenue for the AP government, which has been cash-strapped due to the lockdown. Excise is one of the major revenue sources for the state.
On Sunday, Coronavirus (covid-19) cases inched closer to the 1600 mark in Andhra Pradesh, with 58 more people testing positive for the novel virus on Sunday, taking the state’s total cases to 1583. Of the latest infections, 30 were from Kurnool district alone, where a total of 466 people have been infected in AP, accounting for almost 30% of the state’s total covid-19 patients.
According to a bulletin from the AP government, the latest cases were detected from Ananthapur (7), Chittoor (1), Guntur (11), Krishna (8), Kurnool (30) and Nellore (1) districts. Of the total 1583 cases in AP, 1062 are currently active. On Sunday, 47 more people were discharged from hospitals, taking the total number of recovered patients to 488 in the state. Apart from that, 33 patients in AP have also succumbed to covid-19.
The latest 58 cases turned positive from a pool of 6534 samples which were tested in the last 24 hours. The AP government has also government has also formulated a mechanism for the return of nearly two lakh workers and students from other states due to the lockdown. State medical and health minister Alla Kala Krishna said, in a statement, said that a decision has been taken to bring back the AP natives, as well as ensuring the safe passage of 12,794 migrants to their home states who are currently up in AP.