Around 600 bars and pubs across the tech city reopened to serve liquor and beer under Unlock 4 after being shut down for over five months due to the lockdown since March 25 to contain the coronavirus pandemic, an official said on Tuesday.
“As per the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and the guidelines of the state government, we have allowed bars, pubs and clubs to reopen for business across the city and state,” Karnataka Additional Excise Commissioner Venkat Raja told IANS here.
The guidelines allow bars and pubs to serve 50 per cent of customers at a time in their premises as per their seating capacity to ensure 6-feet physical distancing is maintained.
“All customers are screened at the entrance to ensure they are free from fever or virus and allowed inside with face mask and after washing hands with santiser,” state federation of wine merchants’ association Govindraj Hegde said.
The owners have to also sanitise the area and tables after one set of customers leave and before other customers occupy them for drinks with snacks.
“As stipulated in the OSP, the air-conditioning in all bars and pubs has been set on 24-30 degrees Celsius. Orders are placed contactless and payment through digital mode to avoid touching any surface or object,” Hegde said.
Though the state government reopened liquor sale through retail outlets since May 4 and allowed bars and pubs to sell their stock piled up due to lockdown since Unlock 1 began on June 8, serving drinks were not allowed till August 31.
“It is early to say how the response will be on the first day of reopening, as it is a working day. We hope regular customers will return to bars and pubs in the coming days,” said Hegde.
Restaurants are also allowed to serve liquor along with food as per guidelines.
According to state excise minister H. Nagesh, the state government had suffered an estimated Rs 1,435 crore loss due to restricted sales and ban on serving liquor in bars, restaurants and pubs.
The excise department has set a revenue target for this fiscal (2020-21) is Rs 22,700 crore.