The fourth phase of the unlock has begun. And while restaurants were allowed to open and give home deliveries or takeaways, people were eager to step and dine out after being confined to their homes for almost five months. And, now as a part of the fourth phase of unlocking, certain states have allowed the opening of restaurants for diners. Certain state are also planning to allow pubs to open. But, the question that many patrons are asking is: Whether they will get to order booze!
The coronavirus-induced country-wide lockdown was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from March 25 and was extended in phases till May 31. In the initial period of lockdown, there was hue and cry over the shutting of liquor shops. Over time, many states allowed ordering of liquor at home, and with further relaxations in lockdown, liquor stores were allowed to sell in-store liquor. And, now with several states planning to allow restaurants and pubs to open their doors for diners, they are also planning allow them to serve alcohol.
Here's the full list of states which will allow restaurants and pubs to serve alcohol:
The West Bengal government allowed bars in the state to reopen from Tuesday by following social distancing and other COVID-related protocols. An order issued by the Excise Department on Monday said that services have to be kept within the stipulated hours of opening of the outlets. Restaurants serving liquor can do so by allowing only 50 per cent of total occupancy at a time and following all COVID-19 guidelines, it said. The Excise Directorate said those serving liquor at their clubs, canteens and other places will have to inform the government prior to restarting services.
The Karnataka government has allowed bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants in the state to serve liquor from September 2 with 50 per cent of their seating capacity.
Bars have been allowed to open in Goa from September 1, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant announwed on August 31. He also added that the Union Ministry of Home Affairs Unlock 4.0 guidelines would be implemented in the state. "Bars will be opened from tomorrow. Social distancing will be compulsory," Sawant said.
The Punjab government on June 23 allowed restaurants to operate at 50 per cent capacity, with strict adherence to social-distancing norms and other health protocols. Restaurants in hotels are now allowed to serve food including buffet meals up to 50 per cent of their seating capacity or 50 guests, whichever is less, as per the guidelines. Though bars shall remain closed, liquor can be served in the rooms and restaurants, as permitted under the excise policy of the state, the guidelines say.
Assam government on August 6 allowed bars to open in the state while following social distancing norms and other COVID-19 protocols. A notification issued by the State Excise Department stated that restaurants are allowed to serve liquor provided they have licences. Following the direction, the deputy commissioner of Kamrup Metropolitan district issued an order stating that all IMFL "ON" shops are allowed to remain open from 10 am to 5 pm with strict compliance to social distancing norms and other protocols related to COVID-19 issued by the government.
The Delhi government on August 20 directed the excise department to issue necessary permits for allowing restaurants and hotels to serve liquor to diners "at the table and in the hotel rooms".