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COVID-19 lockdown: These countries have deemed unexpected items as ‘essential’. Find out here

The list of items, which have been deemed essential services, reflects a lot about a country, its culture and what the citizens term as a necessity.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | April 16, 2020 10:00:38 pm
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With countries around the world imposing lockdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic, only essential services are permitted to remain operational during the period for a fixed number of hours. While medicines and milk supply are considered to be essential services, a few countries have dubbed wine shops, gun stores, chocolate shops and even marijuana stores as essential and have given them exemption to remain open.

Here are some unexpected services that have been deemed essential around the world amidst the lockdown.


In India, the IT sector has been classified as essential service in order to keep networks that are vital for banking, communication and governance running smoothly. IT and IT-enabled services with 50 per cent strength can start work from April 20. In addition to the IT sector, medical stores, grocery stores and vegetable markets continue to function with strict social distancing norms being followed.


France is famous for its cuisine as well as its eclectic range of wine and cheese. Dubbed as essential services, all wine merchants and cheese shops continue to offer services to customers amid the lockdown. Besides these, several chocolate shops, butchers and bakeries have been granted exemptions.

France and EU ready to fight back over US tariff threat: French ministers Cheese has been deemed an essential service during the lockdown. (AP)

United States of America

In the United States, a lot of gun stores have been permitted to remain open as a part of essential services, after the Trump administration released a set of guidelines classifying firearms as essential services. In addition to these, stores selling medical and recreational marijuana have been allowed to remain functional in states where the use of such marijuana is legal.

Gun ownership soars in Brazil under Jair Bolsonaro Gun sales have risen considerably during the lockdown. (New York Times)


Liquor stores in Australia have been permitted to sell liquor to customers even as bars and pubs across the country have downed their shutters. While most toy stores have been closed, a few of them continue to function to a limited number of customers given that children across the country will have to remain home for the next few months.


Trikes or tricycles have been classified as essential services beyond the country’s main island, Luzon amid a political storm. The president of the country has banned all public transport in view of quarantine. However, in Manila, the trikes are being used by healthcare workers for transportation.

(With inputs from BBC)

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