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Officials in India’s capital city are imposing a whopping 70 percent tax on alcohol purchases after residents failed to practice social distancing measures on the first day liquor stores were reopened amid the coronavirus lockdown.
The upcharge in New Delhi, which is being called the “special corona fee,” went into effect Tuesday. On Monday, after some lockdown restrictions were eased, thousands turned up at liquor stores without following social distancing guidelines, leading police to use batons to disperse some crowds while other stores were shut down.
It was the first time residents in India could purchase alcohol since March 24, according to the BBC.
The ban on liquor sales formed an important component of India’s ongoing six-week countrywide lockdown and was meant to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus by limiting social gatherings. The ban, however, also deprived state governments in India of tax revenue.
New Delhi wasn’t the only location in the country that drew plenty of people looking to buy drinks on Monday. Similar scenes were reported in cities like Mumbai and Prayagraj.
India has recorded nearly 45,000 cases and more than 1,500 deaths from the coronavirus. On Tuesday, the country reported almost 3,900 new infections for its highest single-day rise.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.