The Kerala government on Thursday amended the existing liquor policy allowing three-star hotels and above to acquire licenses to sell alcohol. Earlier, only five-star restaurants had permission to run bars and sell alcohol.
The new policy, that will come into effect on July 1, will reflect the changes that the LDF government wanted to bring in especially in the backdrop of the fall in tourism sector earnings and loss of employment to thousands of people employed in liquor outlets post the alcohol ban. The policy was introduced by the earlier UDF government with the aim of imposing prohibition in the state.
The amended policy has many changes: bar timings changed to 11 am to 11 pm, those in tourist areas from 10 am to 11 pm, raising age limit of those who can buy alcohol from 23 to 25 years, making liquor available in both domestic and international terminals of airports in the state, allowing beer and wine parlours at 2-star hotels and government protection for toddy farmers.
As per the new policy, restaurants with FL-3 and FL-2 licenses will be permitted to serve liquor in banquet halls on specific occasions after paying a fee. The new liquor policy would result in the reopening of several bars that were closed during the previous Congress-led UDF regime.