New Delhi: In good news for liquor lovers, alcohol-selling shops in Uttar Pradesh will switch to the pre-Covid timings of 10 AM to 10 PM. As per the order issued by the Excise Department on Tuesday, this will be applicable to all liquor shops located outside Covid-19 containment zones. Notably, the full-fledged reopening comes seven months after the nationwide lockdown was imposed to curb the COVID-19 spread. Also Read - Uttar Pradesh: Journalist Burnt to Death For Writing Against Corrupt Pradhan, 3 Arrested

However, on May 4, liquor shops were allowed to reopen till 7 p.m. Subsequently, when the government announced weekend curbs to stop the spread of the virus, it made the closure rule applicable to liquor vends as well. Also Read - Man Shot Dead Over Rs 200 at Crowded Market in Uttar Pradesh's Aligarh

In July, liquor shops were allowed to operate during weekends but could also remain open till 9 p.m. Also Read - First Case Registered in Bareilly Under 'Love Jihad' Law

Liquor Sellers Welfare Association of UP general secretary Kanhaiya Lal Maurya said that the decision would help significantly in improving sales.

“It had been several months since liquor vends were being closed at 9 p.m. When bars and restaurants are being allowed to function for longer duration, we could not understand why shops had to be closed early. We met senior officials of the Excise Department last week and had requested them to change the timings. The Association welcomes the decision,” he said.

The Association has also raised the issue of not being able to meet the licence requirements for sales due to the early closure.

Maurya said that now with the wedding and festival season having started, liquor vend owners would be able to hope for better business in the coming months.

(With agency inputs)