The country has lost around Rs. 15 billion from excise taxes during the month-long curfew, Deputy Commissioner of Excise Kapila Kumarasinghe said.

The revenue loss has been mainly due to the closure of of liquor outlets, he said.

Liquor outlets were opened on Monday in districts where the curfew was relaxed  but were closed the next day until further notice after the GMOA, the National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol (NATA) and others objected to the move.

They fear tipplers would throw caution to the wind  in the rush to buy alcohol and thus ignore social distancing rules put in place due to the spread of the coronavirus.

Kumarasinghe said around 900 liquor outlets were opened on Monday in the 18 districts the curfew was relaxed.

'Yesterday’s turnover would have been even better than on  regular days as they opened after a month, but we have no way of determining the revenue for that day yet" he said.

Meanwhile the illicit liquor industry is flourishing with groups of people distilling moonshine in their backyard and in-home kitchens.

'It is hard to stop this as we cannot go into each home and check during this time in the middle of a public health emergency,” he said.