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The next time you visit Kerala, there might just be a few more refreshment options in place. This follows the announcement by Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Friday, June 8, that puts in place a new liquor policy. The new policy that enjoys the support of the CPM-led front henceforth allows all 3-star hotels and above to serve liquor.

Of interest is that the CM termed the previous liquor policy put in place by the Congress-led UDF government "utter failure" and noted a total ban of liquor in the state is not possible, although the government is committed to liquor abstention.

In the new policy envisioned by the government, licenses will be given to 3 and 4-star hotels while restaurants with FL-3 and FL-2 licenses will be allowed to serve liquor in banquet halls on specific occasions. Further, all the bars that were shut down along the national and state highways will be relocated to taluks in their vicinity.

Apart from the licenses, bars will now be open from 11 am to 11 pm. However, bars in tourism zones will be allowed to open from 10 am.

The government has taken the decision on the liquor policy after the tourism industry was hit by the liquor ban. The previous UDF government had restricted the sale of liquor to only 5-star hotels and through state-run Bevco outlets. The new policy will bring cheer to bar owners, who have been bearing the brunt of the stringent ban imposed by the previous government.