Though many hoteliers have heaved a sigh of relief that bars have reopened and food and beverage revenues can go up, at least 64 hotels and 40 clubs across the State still fall under the Supreme Court liquor ban.
These properties are located within panchayat limits and within 500 m of highways. Though many of them are star category hotels catering to leisure travel, they still cannot serve alcohol.
Benze Saravanan, founder, Tamil Nadu Bar and Club Owners Association, said these establishments have lost out on a mere technicality. “There are some hotels that are just a few 100 m from the city limits but come under the ban. We have approached the court for relief for these properties too. But we are not sure when the case will come up,” he said.
Not being able to sell alcohol has a huge revenue impact since it affects food sales as well as footfall, events and occupancy. It has also affected jobs. Estimates reveal that around 5,000 hospitality sector employees are directly affected. R. Srinivasan, executive committee member, South India Hotels and Restaurants Association, said that these properties are losing out on approximately 40% of their business due to this. Giving a ballpark figure, he said a 100-bedded hotel with banquet space would have a turnover of ₹1-1.30 crore a month. The ban typically brings that down by ₹40 lakh. A resort owner, whose bar has been shut down, said that his business had been badly hit as at least 30% of his customers came to enjoy a relaxing drink. “People come here to relax with friends or partners. The court’s intention is laudable. However, our customers do not drive after they drink. We have never had any violence on our property or cases filed,” he said.