The Odisha government will allow over-the-counter sale of liquor from Wednesday after more than three months, one needs to book a time-slot through an online system for buying alcoholic beverages from the outlets.
The liquor shops across the state will remain open from 7 am to 6 pm, according to a notification issued by the Excise Department on Tuesday.
The government allows the counter sale of liquor in OFF and ON shops in addition to the ongoing home delivery of these items from July 1, the notification said.
An online system for generation of e-token and booking of time-slot has been developed by the Odisha State Beverage Corporation with the National Informatics Centre to regulate crowd at the shops, it said.
The liquor shops in the state remain closed since March 22 in the wake of the lockdown.
Retailers have also been asked to ensure that consumers book time slots to visit their outlets and give adequate publicity for the same, an official of the department said.
The excise licensees have also been directed to maintain social distancing norms and health safety measures to contain the spread of the disease, he said.
"ON-shops will sell liquor but no one will be allowed to consume alcoholic beverages within the premises of these outlets. They will have to follow MRP and other norms applicable for OFF-shop owners," the official said.
According to the notification, the ON-shops will be allowed to operate as OFF-ones as this will increase the number of outlets and thus help check overcrowding.
The retailers will erect barricades wherever required and also engage additional manpower with specific responsibility to manage a queue of customers and maintain social distancing norms, he said.
They will need to ensure that all the staff at their shops use face masks, he added.
Local police and excise staffers will monitor these outlets across districts.
"The district collectors have been authorised to close these shops in case of violation of COVID norms," the official said.
The Odisha government had allowed home delivery of Indian made foreign liquor (IMFL) on May 25.
A total of 1,508 IMFL OFF and ON shops participated in the process of home delivery, the official said.
Apart from these licencees, five tech-firms have executed 17.33 lakh home delivery orders during this period and sold 20.59 lakh litre of IMFL and 20.81 lakh litre of beer across the state, the official added.
The government had also allowed home delivery of country liquor from Monday.
This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.