Thiruvananthapuram: In some good news for tipplers in Kerala, liquor sale is likely to be resumed in the state on Thursday.
Liquor will be sold as takeaways at the BEVCO and Consumerfed outlets, bars, and beer and wine parlours through a virtual queue system. The government had tasked a startup company to develop a mobile app to make the online booking. A token will be sent through the mobile app. The consumers will be allotted a counter and the time to buy the liquor. The price will be the same at all outlets.
The government has submitted the app for listing on Google playstore on Monday evening. The clearance is expected to be received within 24 hours. Once this is received, the app would be tested on a trial basis. And subsequently, the liquor sales will be resumed on Thursday.
The sale is likely to be delayed only if there is some technical glitch.
Till Monday evening, 511 bars and 222 beer and wine parlours have informed their consent to the government for the sale of alcohol as takeaways through special counters via the virtual queue system.
In case there is no rush at the BEVCO outlets, then bar counters could be shut.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also said that liquor and food can be given as takeaways at clubs as well. But no more than five people should be present at once and social distancing norms have to be followed. Those without the membership will not be allowed at the clubs.
Liquor sale only from 9am to 5pm
The government order states that the liquor outlets will be open from 9am to 5pm. The BEVCO outlets earlier used to function till 9pm.
If liquor was to be sold only through the 301 government-run outlets, then there would be a huge rush and social distancing norms will not be followed. Hence the decision to allow bars, and beer and wine parlours also to sell liquor as takeaways, the order explained.
BEVCO managing director will oversee the functioning of the outlets. The MD will also prepare the guidelines and the instructions for the consumers. The over-the-counter liquor sale is only for the period till when consumers are barred from having alcohol at the bars.
Liquor outlets were shut after the COVID-19 lockdown was imposed in the country in March.
The government had earned Rs 12,400 crore in the 2018-19 fiscal through liquor sale.
The retail outlets used to sell liquor worth Rs 40 crore every day.