As the entire nation is shutting down due to coronavirus scare, a government department in Kerala which is not touted as an emergency service still continues functioning, and it is nothing other than the Kerala State Beverages Corporation. On March 23, Pinarayi Vijayan, the Kerala chief minister revealed that the state will be locked down until March 31, but he assured that alcohol outlets will remain open.

Why Kerala government is closing beverage outlets?

As the Kerala government decided to continue the operations of alcoholic outlets, opposition parties including Indian National Congress and BJP have lashed out against Pinarayi Vijayan for taking such an adamant stand. However, government authorities revealed that the decision has been made to stabilize the economy of the state and to avoid issues like the spread of illicit hooch.

Representational image.Creative Commons.

It should be noted that beverage outlets in Kerala are functioning in a very unique manner where people can be seen lined up in a queue to buy alcoholic drinks. Even after strict government instructions, no regulations are being made on these queues, and recent videos reveal that beverage outlets are soon going to become the hotbed of coronavirus spread.

It seems the government has taken a gamble by allowing state-run alcoholic outlets to function despite a surge in Covid-19 cases. Until now, the state government has not decided on the functioning of the 4,800 odd traditional toddy shops.

Coronavirus cases in Kerala

As of March 23, 92 confirmed Covid-19 cases are reported in Kerala, and shockingly, the tally was increased by 50 in the last three days. Out of the 28 fresh cases confirmed on Monday, 19 were reported from Kasargode district. Five cases were reported in Kannur, two from Ernakulam and one each from Pathanamthitta and Thrissur districts.

Out of the 28 confirmed coronavirus cases, 25 are people who recently returned from Dubai. 64,320 people are currently under observation in Kerala.