Tamil Naduâ€™s TASMAC outlets will now be following the token method for its customers, in a repeat of its crowd control measures from 2020. The move comes after TASMAC received flak for uncontrolled crowding during sale time, amidst the second wave of the pandemic.
According to reports, the Managing Director of TASMAC sent a slew of instructions to all the district units to ensure that alcohol is sold only to those who come to the store with a token. The MD also instructed that the outlets not have more than five customers at a time at the counter. In order to tackle the crowding, the sale timing in TASMAC outlets and bars across Tamil Nadu has been reduced by one hour: the sale ends at 9 pm and no tokens will be issued to customers after 8 pm. Barricades will be placed around 200 metres from the outlets and alcohol will not be sold in bulk or to those without face masks.
Placemarkers will be drawn in front of the outlets to help customers adhere to the physical distancing norms. These instructions will come into force with immediate effect. The new measures are an attempt to avoid the High Court from ordering closure of TASMAC outlets like in May 2020. In May 2020, fresh into pandemic, pictures, videos and reports of huge crowds in front of TASMAC shops alerted the court, which ordered that all alcohol outlets be shut to help maintain pandemic restrictions.
As Tamil Nadu reintroduced curbs by closing tourist spots and restricting the audience capacity at cinema halls, several voices rose in protest, pointing out that the crowds at TASMAC outlets and bars are unchecked. People also questioned the governmentâ€™s intention of keeping the alcohol outlets open and curbing restaurants and cinema theatres and called for similar or more restrictions for TASMAC outlets too.