Delhi allows restaurants to serve liquor, keeps bars closed in pandemic

The order signed by Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that under the Unlock guidelines
Liquor will be served at the table in restaurants and in hotel rooms in Delhi even as bars stáy closed.

As per a Delhi government order issued on Thursday, "Considering the revenue implications, Excise Department to issue necessary permission for service of liquor in the restaurants and clubs by licencees at the table and in the hotel rooms."

The order signed by Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that under the Unlock guidelines, the Delhi government has allowed operation of restaurants subject to social distancing norms. "In the Disaster Management Authority meeting held on August 19, the government has also allowed opening of hotels. Bars will remain closed under the Unlock guidelines of the Ministry of Home Affairs", the order said.

However, Delhi is now following the example of some states which have allowed liquor to be served. This is also necessitated by the burgeoning revenue loss that the states are facing as economic activity was disrupted during the lockdown and even after Unlock, is only just picking up.

"However, several state governments including Assam, Punjab, and Rajasthan have permitted service of liquor by licencee holders under the Excise Rules at the table in the restaurants and clubs and in the hotel rooms", the order said. This will come as a relief to restaurants and hotels which are finding it difficult to sustain business models.

It is estimated that 40 per cent restaurants that had shut down during the lockdown may never open again. The hospitality and tourism industry is the worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic in India and across the globe. It also helps the government to mop up revenue from increased sale of liquor sold and also boosts the footfall in restaurants and occupancy in hotels.

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel