The more than four-month wait is over. Tipplers of this teeming megapolis are in ‘high spirits’, as the Tamilnadu government on Sunday announced the opening of state-owned TASMAC liquor shops from 18 August, which were closed since March in view of the Covid-19 induced pandemic.
An official release here said the retail liquor shops were allowed to open from 10 am to 7 pm from 18 August by following social distancing norms. Stating that only 500 tokens would be issued per day, the release appealed to those coming to purchase liquor to wear face masks compulsorily. However, liquor shops in corona containment zones would continue to remain shut.
It said TASMAC shops were allowed to open on 7 May in areas other than those coming under Chennai Corporation limits, prompting the tipplers to make a beeline to the border areas of the neighboring districts to get their daily quota.
Now that the TASMAC management has allowed the opening of the retail vending shops from Tuesday, it has come as a big relief to the tipplers. It may be noted that ever since the shops were closed after the outbreak of the corona pandemic in the third week of March, tipplers were left high and dry with those selling in black-market making a killing.
Relief came in the form of the government allowing shops to function in the border districts of Chennai from 7 May. Since then, the sales, especially on Saturdays taking into account the complete lockdown on all Sundays, touched close to Rs 150 crore mark.
More than 750 Tasmac outlets in and around the city, that fall under the Greater Chennai Police limits, will reopen on August 18. However, bars attached to Tasmac outlets will not function.
This weekend, with Saturday (Independence Day) and Sunday being holidays, the sales almost touched Rs 250 crore. The sales from TASMAC are one of the major revenue earners for the government with the annual sales crossing Rs 30,000 crore. However, it was likely to be impacted slightly this year in view of the lockdown.
Elite Shops selling premium and imported liquor, operating in shopping complexes and outside containment zones, will also be thrown open for the public. Those in malls will remain shut. The city has 31 elite Tasmac outlets, including one in each mall.