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Unlock 4.0: Pubs, bars in Karnataka will be allowed to serve liquor from September

They can fill only half their capacity and they have to maintain social distance, said Excise Minister H Nagesh
hruthi H M Sastry
Last Updated : 30 August 2020, 14:30 IST
Last Updated : 30 August 2020, 14:30 IST
Last Updated : 30 August 2020, 14:30 IST
Last Updated : 30 August 2020, 14:30 IST

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Bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants in Karnataka will be able to serve liquor from September 1, after five months of restriction on sales. Until now, shops were allowed only to sell takeaway.

Confirming the same, Excise Minister H Nagesh said all the establishments will be allowed service of liquor, but with only 50 percent of their seating capacity.

“They can fill only half their capacity. They have to maintain social distance and take other standard precautionary measures for Covid-19,” he said, adding that a detailed set of guidelines would be issued on Monday. The state government’s decision follows the Unlock 4.0 guidelines issued by the Centre on Saturday.

After a complete shutdown of liquor sales in March following the first lockdown, the state government had opened partial sales of liquor in the beginning of May by allowing MRP outlets to open for takeaway.

This was followed by permission for clubs, bars and restaurants to clear their stock, while later that month, pubs with RVB (Retail Vend of Beer) were also allowed to clear their stock.

With restricted sales, the state has incurred an estimated loss of Rs 1435 crore till date, Nagesh added.

“This is the estimated loss in comparison to the revenue generated at the same period last year. The losses would have crossed over Rs 3000 crore, if not for the state’s decision to allow takeaway of liquor,” according to the minister. The state government’s excise revenue target for the financial year 2020-21 is Rs 22,700 crore, as per the budget announcement this year.

Meanwhile, even with the government permitting takeaway, there has only been marginal improvement of sales, said Bengaluru district Wine Merchants Association President Lokesh. The Association recently submitted a representation to the Chief Minister urging the state government to allow service of liquor.

“The takeaway system was of no use for bars. People usually buy takeaway from retail stores. Most of the business flows into those stores. At least 600 bars in the district have not opened shops until now as there is no business. The state will accrue huge losses if this system is continued. We had sought permission for services at the earliest,” Lokesh said.

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Published 30 August 2020, 13:03 IST

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