At a time when several states imposed night curfew and other restrictions in view of threat posed by Omicron, the Telangana government has decided to extend timings for bars, pubs and liquor shops on New Year’s Eve.
The state government on Tuesday issued an order, allowing Director, Prohibition and Excise Department to permit license holders of bars, licensees of event permit managements, and in-house licensees of Telangana Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC) to serve liquor up to 1 a.m. on the intervening night of December 31, 2021 and January 1, 2022.
Relaxing the rules, the government also allowed liquor shops to sell liquor till 12 midnight of December 31 on the eve of New Year celebrations.
Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar issued an order to this effect. This comes at a time when states like Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Uttar Pradesh imposed restrictions including night curfew in view of Covid-19 situation.
Telangana on Tuesday reported seven new Omicron cases including three who had no travel history. The new cases pushed the state’s tally of the new variant of Covid-19 to 62.
Earlier, Health Minister T. Harish Rao sought to justify the government not imposing restrictions in view of the low positivity rate.
He said the Centre advised only those states who have 10 per cent or higher Covid positivity rate to impose curbs. “Our positivity rate is only 0.6 per cent and in fact it has come down compared to last week,” he said.
The state government on December 25 issues orders banning rallies and public meetings in the state till January 2. The orders were issued following the direction of the Telangana High Court to imposing curbs on public gatherings. However, the state has not banned New Year celebrations.
The High Court on December 23 had directed the state government to impose curbs during festivals and New Year celebrations in view of Omicron.