The Delhi government on Thursday allowed the city's restro-bars, hotels, and clubs to sell their stock of beer expiring this month to liquor shops in a bid to minimise their financial losses, an official said.
There are around 950 hotels, clubs and restro-bars in the national capital 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.
The Delhi government had on May 4 allowed standalone government-run liquor shops to open. By May 22, private liquor shops including those in markets too were allowed to operate.
According to the Excise Act, the restro-bars, hotels, and clubs can only sell liquor to their customers, the official said, adding that it would be a one-time relaxation.
“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 vends," the 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 restro-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, he said.
Another official said it is up to the owners of the restro-bars, clubs, and hotels to reach an agreement with the liquor vend owners and the government will not have a say in the process.
"It is for the restro-bars, clubs and hotels to decide at what rates do they want to sell their stock to liquor shops," another official said.
Last week, the Delhi Cabinet had decided to withdraw ‘special corona fee' of 70 per cent tax on the maximum retail price of liquor brands, which came into effect on Wednesday.
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 city.