Chandigarh, March 27 -- Under fire from several quarters, the Haryana government on Thursday decided to shut down liquor vends across the state.

The shutdown will come into effect Thursday midnight and remain in force till April 14.

Despite going into a statewide lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19, the state government had decided to keep the liquor vends open. "The idea was to not deprive people of liquor when they would remain confined in their homes for weeks. It was a practical move,'' said an excise official.

The officials said they feared that closure of liquor vends for almost three weeks would make regular drinkers sway towards poor quality and harmful intoxicants, including bootleg.

Meanwhile, former Haryana minister an...