- Liquor shops won't allow to open from Wednesday in Mumbai
- Large crowds made physical distancing difficult: civic authorities
- Police baton-charged people who had flocked to liquor shops on Monday
Liquor shops will not be allowed to open from Wednesday in Mumbai, civic authorities said, as large crowds made it difficult to enforce physical distancing on the first two days since several relaxations were announced amid the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown.
Police baton-charged hundreds of people who had flocked to liquor shops across the country when they opened on Monday for the first time in a staggered exit from the world's biggest lockdown, which is set to run until May 17.
With cases continuing to rise in Mumbai, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Tuesday decided to ease the restrictions, including the permission to reopen liquor shops, and declared only essential services will be available from Wednesday.
In an order issued in the night, the BMC said only grocery and medicine shops will be allowed to remain open in the city from May 6.
The relaxations given by the Maharashtra government to run certain non-essential services and shops are withdrawn, it said.
In the order, the BMC expressed concerns that allowing some non-essential services may lead to deterioration of the coronavirus situation in Mumbai.
The BMC said it has been observed that the number of positive cases in Mumbai has been rising and the downward trend is yet to set in.
Government officials say the lockdown had helped avert a surge of infections that could have overwhelmed medical services.
However, despite the measures, Mumbai has reported the highest number of coronavirus cases in the country at almost 10,000 - nearly twice as many as Delhi.
The BMC expressed fear that advantages of the lockdown will be lost due to gathering of people in large numbers.
Gathering of crowds in large numbers without following social distancing norms will be detrimental to the control of spread of the virus, it said.