Express News Service
NEW DELHI: Hotels, restaurants and clubs in the national capital can serve liquor but bars will remain shut as per the unlock guidelines for the Covid-19 pandemic issued by the Central government.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who also holds the charge of the finance department, directed the excise commissioner on Thursday to grant “necessary permission” for serving liquor in the restaurants and hotels “considering the revenue implications.”
“Several state governments, including Assam, Punjab, Rajasthan etc, have permitted serving of liquor by licence holders under the excise rules at the table in restaurants and clubs and in hotel rooms. Considering the revenue implications, the excise department to issue necessary permission for service of liquor in the restaurants and clubs by licensees at the table and in the hotel rooms,” the order said.
The direction comes a day after the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) allowed the reopening of hotels. The government had allowed restaurants to open from June 8 but serving liquor was prohibited.
“Under the unlock guidelines, the Delhi government has allowed operation of restaurants subject to social distancing norms. In the DDMA meeting held on August 19, 2020, the government has also allowed opening of hotels. Bars will remain closed under the provisions of unlock guidelines of the Ministry of Home Affairs,” the order said.
Restaurant owners have been seeking permission for serving liquor to recover their losses. The National Restaurant Association of India had also written to the excise department for the same recently. Responding to the development, Zorawar Kalra, CEO and MD of Massive Restaurants, said it was a welcome move but he said he was still awaiting the final go-ahead in writing from the authorities.
“This will help the industry has been very badly affected. Sales currently remain at a paltry 10-15 % of pre-Covid levels. Only 18% of the restaurants have actually opened up. This move will enable more and more restaurants to take the plunge and open, which will subsequently lead to a significant increase in employment. Also with the inclusion of liquor, we expect dinner revenue to greatly enhance,” Kalra added.
Sujith Herbert, general manager of Hilton Garden Inn at Saket, said he was happy to receive the recent government instruction on reopening of hotels and restaurants.
“With this we are all set to welcome our valued guests to the new normal world of elevated hospitality. We have been waiting for this instruction since long and will be happy to create a memorable yet safe experience for all our guests.”
Delhi not alone to do so
Rajasthan, Punjab and Assam are among states which have permitted service of liquor by licence holders under excise rules at the table in restaurants.