The LDF government's new liquor policy came into effect in Kerala from Sunday making way for 77 bars to open. Bars and liquor shops will now remain open from 11 AM to 11 PM.
Tipplers in Kerala, especially the border regions do not have to visit other states to buy liquor anymore with the Pinarayi Vijayan government reversing the liquor ban. While the Supreme Court's order on banning liquor along highways will remain effective, the state government decided to renew the bar license for hotels with ratings above three stars that were open until March 31, 2014.
Of the 81 renewal applications from bars, the government has so far cleared 77. All 77 liquor stores and bars will now be open starting Sunday. Ernakulam alone will see 20 bars open their doors from Sunday. 11 bars in Thiruvananthapuram, 9 in Thrissur, 8 in Kannur, 6 in Kottayam and Palakkad each, 5 in Kozhikode, 4 bars in Mallapuram, 3 in Kollam, 2 in Alappuzha and Wayanad and 1 in Idukki have been given licence to open.
The previous United Democratic Front government changed the state's liquor policy and banned all bars except those in five-star hotels. About 418 bars were closed statewide on March 31, 2014, and a year later all bars except those in five-star hotels were shut down.