Delhi allows home delivery of liquor via app, website
People in Delhi can now order home delivery of Indian and foreign liquor through a dedicated mobile app or website, the city's government says. However, only stores possessing the L-13 license will be allowed to home deliver alcohol in the national capital. The announcement comes as Delhi begins a gradual reopening after over 40 days of shutdown due to COVID-19.
'No delivery to hostels and offices'
"The licensee shall make delivery of liquor at the residences only if order is received through mobile app or online web portal and no delivery shall be made to any hostel, office, and institution," according to the Delhi Excise (Amendment) Rules, 2021.
Liquor can now be served in open spaces at bars
Home delivery of liquor was not explicitly banned in Delhi even under the previous government rules. All holders of L-13 license were allowed to make such deliveries for orders placed through email or fax services, but not through telephone. Now, independent restaurants, clubs, and bars have also been allowed to serve liquor in certain open spaces such as terraces, balconies, and courtyards.
In March, drinking age in Delhi was changed to 21
Notably, the Delhi government is yet to issue an official statement on the order. In March, the city government had announced that legal drinking age in Delhi had been brought down from 25 to 21, in an attempt to improve its annual excise revenue. Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab, Jharkhand, and Odisha are among other states where home delivery of liquor is currently allowed.
BJP criticizes the Delhi government's move
Separately, the rival BJP has criticized the move, saying the notification exposes the "misplaced priorities" of the AAP-led Delhi government. "The Delhi government failed to provide oxygen to people on time leading to thousands of deaths...It failed to deliver oxygen cylinders to people's doorstep during the (pandemic) peak and instead wants to deliver alcohol to them," BJP spokesperson Harish Khurana reportedly said.
Last year, SC asked states to consider delivery of liquor
Last year, the Supreme Court of India had asked states to consider starting home delivery of liquor after visuals of huge crowds outside liquor shops emerged, which were in clear violation of COVID-19 protocols such as social distancing. In fact, popular food delivery platforms such as Swiggy and Zomato had started delivering liquor in some states during the 2020 nationwide lockdown.
Delhi's positivity rate below 1%, reopening process begins
Meanwhile, Delhi, which was hit hard by the second wave of COVID-19, is seeing a significant improvement in the situation. 648 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the past 24 hours there and the daily positivity rate has fallen below 1%. Delhi has been under a strict lockdown since April 19 and the process of a gradual reopening of the city began today.