Bar and restaurants can sell liquor, but only for 10 days

For the next 10 days, bars and restaurants, clubs, and boarding and lodging facilities will be able to sell liquor at the MRP to clear their existing stocks.

An order by the Excise Commissioner on Friday stated that alcohol can be sold between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. from May 8 to May 17. The establishments will be allowed to sell till their stock is exhausted or until May 17. However, establishments in containment zones will not be allowed to open.

The Hindu on Friday had reported that the State government was going to take this decision to help these establishments clear their stocks.

However the Federation of Wine Merchants’ Association, Karnataka, have been asking for permission to operate regularly.

The 10-day ease on liquor sales is applicable only for takeaways. Only sealed bottles can be sold. Owners have the option of selling alcohol directly to customers or to retail shops with CL 2 licences.

There are 3,600 bars and restaurants, 250 clubs, and 1,400 boarding and lodging facilities in Karnataka.

The Excise Department, in its order, stated that they can only sell old stocks and cannot procure any new ones. Furthermore, establishments in malls and supermarkets cannot open for business.

Wine boutiques will be able to sell wine while Metro Cash and Carry can sell alcohol under the same conditions.

Only five customers will be allowed to enter at a time and they will have to maintain a minimum distance of six feet from each other. Both the customers and the employees have to wear masks and sanitise their hands regularly.

The department has threatened to suspend or cancel licences of those establishments that fail to follow the rules.

As beer is best consumed within six months from the date of its brewing, the stock that remains unsold will have to be destroyed.

The move has been welcomed by owners of hotels and restaurants and customers. Madhukar M. Shetty, secretary of the Karnataka State Hotel and Restaurants’ Association, said that on an average each restaurant had a stock of liquor in the range of ₹10 lakh and ₹20 lakh. “We will not be making any profit by selling the liquor. We only want to make sure that it does not go to waste. The amount we earn from selling the liquor will help us meet the cost for paying salaries to our staff,” he said.

No permission for microbreweries

Microbreweries will not be allowed to sell beer or any other liquor. An official of the Excise Department stated that their beer is not sold in sealed bottles but by glass or pitchers. However, many owners of microbreweries say that they are in a tough spot as the beer they have brewed may get spoilt if there is a delay in the lifting of the lockdown. Currently, there are 62 microbreweries in the State.

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