65 bars among the closed ones had upgraded their facilities and they should have been allowed to open for business, said District president of Kerala Bar Hotels’ Association.

Sixty-nine of the 182 bars in Ernakulam district remain shut and bar owners have called on the government to take an appropriate decision after the elections even as they expressed the opinion that they should have been given more time to tidy up things if the businesses were going to be stopped.

District president of Kerala Bar Hotels’ Association Jose Pradeep said there was also some confusion over the number of bars — 418, that have been closed for not meeting certain standards.

He claimed that 65 bars among the closed ones had upgraded their facilities and they should have been allowed to open for business.

As to what the future holds, Mr. Pradeep said the government was set to take a decision on the issue after the elections.

However, he said that about a lakh people worked in the 418 bars directly and indirectly and they needed to be paid their salaries and other benefits. The abrupt closure of the bars had put severe financial strain on the business.

Mr. Pradeep claimed that one of the businesses that would be seriously affected in the State is tourism. Lot of tourists use cheaper outlets and restaurants.

If the move by the government is rein in on the consumption of liquor in the State, closure of bars was not the best step, he said.

The government could take steps like reduction in the number of retail outlets for liquor.

If the government can take a step like reducing 10 per cent of the retail outlets it would be a right move, he said. There had also been court directive regarding reduction in the number of retail liquor outlets, he added.

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