TASMAC is back, but only 500 tokens per day for each shop

With the Supreme Court staying the Madras High Court order directing closure of state-run liquor shops in Tamil Nadu, the state government on Friday issued an order on reopening of government-run Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (TASMAC) liquor shops from May 16 from 10 am till 5 pm.

The Tamil Nadu government has barred selling of liquor in Chennai, Thiruvallur, malls and containment zones. The Tamil Nadu government has come up with a set of rules after the Supreme Court allowed liquor shops to reopen in the state.

A token system will be implemented and only 500 tokens will be given at each liquor shop everyday. The shops will be open from 10am to 5pm and masks are mandatory for customers. There will be no sale of liquor in COVID-19 hotspots Chennai and Thiruvallur besides malls and containment zones, the state said.

The Supreme Court on Friday stayed a Madras High Court order of May 8 to close liquor shops in the State with immediate effect to maintain physical distancing till the COVID-19 lockdown is lifted or modified.

A Bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao, S.K. Kaul and B.R. Gavai also froze the proceedings before the high court even as it issued formal notice to the respondents (who were PIL petitioners in the high court), asking them to respond within four weeks.

According to the Tamil Nadu government’s order, the tipplers and the TASMAC liquor shop vendors will have to follow a token system. Only 500 tokens will be issued to a particular shop every day. The people wishing to buy liquor should wear masks and adher to all the social distancing norms imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19.