The Delhi government on Thursday announced that hotels, clubs and restaurants would be allowed to serve liquor in their establishments from September 9, PTI reported. The establishments would have to adhere to coronavirus-related guidelines issued by the central government, officials said, adding that Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal had given his assent to the Arvind Kejriwal government’s proposal.
The current permission is only on a trial basis and would be in effect till September 30, India Today reported. The Delhi government’s SOP includes that only those establishments outside containment zones would be permitted to operate. Use of masks and hand sanitizers are mandatory.
All establishments were shut down after the Centre imposed a nationwide lockdown in March. On June 8, as part of the Centre’s Unlock 1.0 initiative, restaurants reopened after more than two months but liquor was not permitted.
The decision to begin serving liquor comes even as the national Capital has seen a steady rise in cases in the past few days.
On Thursday, Delhi recorded 2,737 new Covid-19 cases, taking the tally to more than 1.82 lakh. This is the Capital’s highest single-day spike in over two months, and the third consecutive day when more than 2,000 cases have been reported. The city’s toll has now risen to 4,500.
Earlier in the day, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain denied that the Capital was witnessing a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. “You cannot say it is a second wave,” Jain was quoted as saying by India Today. “We could have called it a second wave if there were no positive cases for one or two months and then cases would have started coming again. The virus is still there in Delhi. You should not stress about numbers.”