The Madras High Court today (8 May) ordered the closure of all liquor shops in Tamil Nadu as it founds its guidelines of physical distancing norms were violated even as the total number of novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) cases in the State topped 6,000.
The High Court, taking up pleas against the opening of liquor shops, however, allowed online sales of liquor. Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court had asked the States to consider online sales of liquor.
The Madras High Court ruling, ordering closure of liquor shops, comes on heels of long queues being witnessed in front of liquor shops throwing to winds the physical distancing norms.
This led to renewed fears of further spread of Covid-19. In Cuddalore, a three km queue was seen in front of an outlet for liquor.
Since the beginning of this month, the total number of Covid-19 cases in the Tamil Nadu have increased by over 3,500 with over 500 cases being reported each in the last six days.
The order for closure of liquor shops also comes when women began staging protests against the opening of liquor shops. Sun Television reported protests in various parts of the State, particularly Madurai, against the opening of liquor shops.
Video footages shows women protesting and raising slogans with police arresting men who joined the protests.
Tipplers queued up before liquor outlets despite the Tamil Nadu hiking prices by 15 per cent. On the first day of liquor sale after the nation-wide shutdown curbs were relaxed, Tamil Nadu witnessed liquor sales worth Rs 170 crore.
Meanwhile, Coronavirus cases continue to rise sharply in the State with 600 more being reported today, taking the total number of cases to 6,009. The pandemic virus has claimed 40 lives so far.
Chennai was again mainly responsible for the increase, with 399 positive cases being reported. So far, the State capital has 3,043 cases.
The Tamil Nadu Government daily briefing said Chennai’s principal Koyambedu vegetable and fruits market is responsible for 1,589 Covid-19 cases so far. The market has turned a Coronavirus "super-spreader".
Today, besides Chennai, its neighbouring district of Thiruvallur reported a significant number of 75 cases.
Another neighbouring district Chengalpattu reported 26 positive cases, while 34 cases were reported from Cuddalore district.
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