Hyderabad: Tipplers made a beeline to liquor shops across the city, barely minutes after the State government clamped a lockdown on Tuesday.
As the news about the lockdown began circulating on social media platforms and news channels, people crowded the liquor shops and in some areas the queues stretched to half-a-kilometre. Physical distancing, which is a must during these pandemic times, went for a toss and even the scorching summer sun did not deter the Bacchus lovers who thronged the liquor outlets to procure their stock.
Many were seen jostling with each other to reach the counter even as the wine shop owners tried to convince them that there was sufficient stock. Police personnel with batons and the staff of the liquor outlets had to jump into action and enforce queue system.
As there was confusion whether wine shops would be permitted in the four hour relaxation period for business from 6 am to 10 am from Wednesday, hundreds of customers purchased liquor and beer in bulk. Many were seen walking away with boxes of liquor bottles apart from beer cartons. Whatever brand was available was bought.
Wine shops in Secunderabad, Punjagutta, Ameerpet, Koti, Kacheguda, Sanathnagar, Malkajgiri and Abids among other areas witnessed brisk sales.
Though there were staunch beer guzzlers who stocked up beer, wine shop owners said that a majority went for hard liquor, with whiskey, rum and vodka ruling the sale charts. The Telangana Wine Dealers Association president D Venkateswara Rao attributed the sudden rush at shops to panic buying. Most of the liquor shops sold over 90 per cent of their stock as customers purchased all the available liquor brands.
Meanwhile, wine shops were allowed to open from 6 am to 10 am. Oral instructions in this regard were issued to all the wine shop owners across the State. The depots of Telangana Beverages Corporation Limited will also open from 6 am to 9 am to supply the stock, officials said. Shopkeepers were also asked to put up boards to indicate the new timings.
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