Liquor stores will be closed in Bengaluru during the lockdown imposed from 8 pm on July 14 to 5 am on July 22, Excise Department officials clarified on Tuesday.
Even though the lockdown guidelines released by Bengaluru Urban district officials on Monday night made no mention of liquor stores, confusion arose when a set of lockdown guidelines tweeted by the Karnataka Health Department's official account appeared to suggest that standalone liquor stores will be open from 10 am to 5 pm during the lockdown period.
However, this is not the case and liquor stores in Bengaluru will be closed during the lockdown period. Restaurants and bars will also not be allowed to sell takeaway liquor during this week.
Excise Department officials in Bengaluru reported sales of Rs 230 crore on Monday. Figures released by the department showed that 4.89 lakh litres of Indian made liquor was sold for Rs 215.5 crore and 0.83 lakh litres of beer was sold at Rs 14.83 crore. The sales on Monday was well over the usual sales amount per day (pre-lockdown) which is around Rs 90-95 crore, as per officials.
Even on Tuesday morning, long lines were seen in liquor stores in Bengaluru as residents in the city stocked up on alcohol for the week.
The lockdown will be in effect starting on Tuesday night in Bengaluru Rural and Bengaluru Urban districts. Similar lockdowns will be in effect in Dakshina Kannada and Dharwad districts starting from Wednesday while Kalaburagi district too announced a lockdown for a week.
The lockdowns were imposed after a spike in COVID-19 cases in the state starting from the end of June. The spike was the highest in Bengaluru which has been reporting over 1,000 cases per day over the past week. The city reported 1315 cases on Monday taking the total number of active cases to 15,052.
During the nationwide lockdown from March, liquor stores in Bengaluru remained closed. They were opened on May 4 when long lines were seen in many Bengaluru liquor stores. On that day, the Excise Department reported sales of Rs 45 crore.
The sales grew during the month of May and officials attributed it to the fact that more stores began selling their alcohol. Restaurants and bars too were allowed to sell alcohol as takeaway.