Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Government has come out with a set of guidelines regarding the sale of liquor in the state when the outlets reopen after being shut for about two months due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
According to the state's directives, the sale of liquor will only be made on the basis of virtual bookings made through a a newly developed mobile application christened BevQ. The move aims at reducing crowding at the outlets.
Along with the outlets of the Kerala State Beverages Corporation, Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) will be sold through special counters in bars also.
With an e-token, the person will be directed to a particular outlet or bar which is near to him as per the GPS location. This is to avoid people travelling far to buy liquor, he said.
Customers who place orders through the virtual queue app will receive a token with a QR code on their mobile phone. The bar licensee has to verify this e-token with another app and sell the liquor to the customer.
Those who make bookings through the SMS method will receive the token code as a text message. This code also should be checked by the licence holder with his app before the sales.
Another stipulation states that a person can buy liquor only once in four days. It is also directed that people waiting in queue should maintain a distance of six feet. All customers would be checked with a thermal scanner and people showing symptoms of disease would not be sold liquor. Moreover, the number of persons in a queue will be limited to five.
Those who do not possess e-token will not be allowed in the queue. Only three litres of liquor would be sold at a time to a customer to the maximum, that too as parcel. All conditions in the Abkari Act would also be followed while making the sale.
The order issued by the managing director of Kerala State Beverages Corporation said all liquor bottles should be sealed.
Another condition states that people living in places designated as Red Zones in view of the COVID-19 pandemic would not be able to place orders for liquor through the app. Bars located in Containment Zones and those functioning as quarantine centres have inform the matter to the Beverages Corporation.
The bars have also been directed to check their stock on a daily basis and pass on the details to the Corporation.
The order says that more information regarding the use of the app would be released later.
There are 301 state-run liquor outlets in Kerala, apart from 598 bar hotels and 357 beer and wine parlours.
Adhering to the Centre's guidelines, the state government has decided not to open the bars but has agreed to sell liquor as takeaway from special retail counters.
The state government had on May 18 said the liquor outlets would open as and when the online system is ready and bars can sell liquor and food as a takeaway.
The state government has also said licensed clubs can sell liquor and food to their members as parcel with strict restrictions on the number of persons.