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Bars shut, but tipplers lift Tasmac spirits further

Fear of coronavirus might have brought down attendance in offices and dampened the spirits of business establishments, but not that of the tipplers in Tamil Nadu. Despite the State government ordering the closure of bars attached to Tasmac retail liquor outlets, the liquor sales on Tuesday ended up only slightly higher than the usual.

Bars shut, but tipplers lift Tasmac spirits further
The crowd in front of a Tasmac outlet in the city on Wednesday


It was on Monday that the Tamil Nadu government ordered the shutdown of more than 3,000 bars attached to retail vending stops as a precautionary measure in the wake of coronavirus threat. Accordingly, a total of 3,188 bars attached to that many Tasmac shops were closed from Monday night.

It was expected that the liquor sales will register a fall due to the closure of bars, which are frequented by more than five lakhconsumers every day across the State.

However, in contrast to the anticipation, the liquor sales touched Rs 100 crore mark on Tuesday, which was near three per cent higher than the usual daily sales.

A senior official with the Tamil Nadu State Marketing Corporation (Tasmac), the monopoly agency in selling liquor in the State, told DT Next that the average liquor sales per day will be around Rs 97 crore with the weekends only witnessing sales of around Rs 100 crore.

“Once the government announced the closure of the bars attached to the liquor shops, rumours were doing the rounds that the authorities could also soon close the Tasmac shops. This made most of the people purchasing liquor in bulk from Monday night itself,” he said.

Stating that trend of purchasing bulk quantity of liquor continued Tuesday also, the official said the day’s sales touched Rs 100 crore.

“In the last two days (Monday and Tuesday), more than 15 lakh cases of hard liquor were sold,” he said adding “during the same period over 65,000 cases of beer were sold”.

Disclosing further details, the Tasmac official said in Chennai alone the liquor sales crossed Rs 8 crore on Tuesday and in Coimbatore and Tiruvallur districts, it was Rs 6 crore. “In Tirupur, the liquor sales were about Rs 5 crore and in Salem, it was Rs 4 crore,” he said.

However, the official pointed out that bar owners have suffered a huge loss due to the closure of bars.

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