Delhi govt announces big relief for hotels and bars

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The Delhi government has allowed resto-bars, hotels and clubs to sell their stock of beer expiring this month to liquor shops, in a bid to minimise their financial losses.

There are around 950 hotels, clubs and resto-bars in Delhi which have an excise license, however, they have not been allowed to open since March 25, when the first nationwide lockdown was announced. They will continue to remain closed in the city till June 30.

According to the Excise Act, the resto-bars, hotels, and clubs can only sell liquor to their customers. “In wake of the extraordinary situation emerging out of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, the government has allowed these establishments to sell the stock of beer expiring on June 30 to liquor vendors,” a government official told PTI.

The decision was taken after the excise department got several requests to allow such establishments to sell their stock of beer lying unsold as it would expire soon due to the lockdown restrictions, the official said.

“The move will minimise the financial losses of resto-bars, hotels and clubs as they have not been allowed to open for over two months. However, they cannot sell their stock of beer expiring after June 30,” the official added. The shelf life of beer is around six months.

Recently, the Delhi Cabinet had decided to withdraw the ‘special corona fee’ of 70% tax on the maximum retail price of liquor brands. The fee was imposed on May 4.

Of around 860 liquor shops in Delhi, 475 are government-run and 389 are owned by private enterprises or individuals.

Four government agencies — Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation, Delhi Tourism and Transportation Development Corporation, Delhi State Civil Supplies Corporation and Delhi Consumer’s Cooperative Wholesale Store — operate the state-run shops in the city.