The Kerala High Court on Wednesday warned the State to ensure that COVID-19 protocol is maintained in State-run liquor outlets, adding that just because the State gets revenue out of liquor sale, it cannot compromise on safety norms to expose customers to COVID. (My Hindustan Paints v. S Aananthakrishnan IPS).Justice Devan Ramachandran orally observed,"We shouldn't have an indifferent attitude to people who buy liquor from Bevco outlets. We must save the lives of every customer who goes there because it doesn't affect just them, they will carry the disease to their house and give it to their wives, their children. Why is the Kerala TRP going up? Because we are unable to impose the isolation protocol properly due to population density so we have to ensure that at least crowding in public spaces is controlled.".The Kerala government today informed the Court that the Excise Commissioner has issued directions to all liquor outlets run by the Kerala State Beverages Corporation (Bevco) to ensure that the directions issued by the State regarding COVID -19 restrictions are strictly complied with..Yesterday, the Court had noted that liquor stores in the State were apparently not complying with directions in a Government Order (GO) dated August 4, 2021 that mandated COVID vaccination or a negative RT-PCR certificate to visit the shops..Liquor store run like dingy drug den in Bollywood movies: Kerala High Court rebukes State for undignified operation of liquor shops amid COVID.Since Clause IV of the GO is under challenge in the High Court Court, Justice Ramachandran remarked today that he is not saying that people should compulsorily be vaccinated or that people who get vaccinated should go and buy liquor. .However, as long as the GO is operational, it must apply to all shops equally, including liquor stores, he emphasised. ."Bevco is nothing but an ordinary shop. Purely because you get some revenue out of it, it does not mean that you can expose your customers to the highest risk. So every condition the Government imposes, subject to modifications and orders of this Court, must apply to Beverage outlets. You must ensure that people are allowed to buy beverages in a dignified manner and that they are not exposing themselves to the pandemic", the Judge told the State..On Tuesday, Justice Ramachandran had come down heavily on the State after personally noticing a liquor store which he said looked like a "dingy drug and gambling den seen in old Bollywood movies". .He had expressed his bewilderment at the fact that the shop seemingly is continuing to operate despite the Government's earlier statement to the Court that out of over 300 Bevco outlets in the State, 96 had been identified as having inadequate facilities and would be closed down and shifted to more suitable locations. .The Court, therefore, had sought an explanation for the continued operation of the outlet in question and whether it had not been identified for being closed down by the State..Today, Advocate Navin, appearing Bevco, submitted that the shop is one among the 96 identified for shifting. Further, he claimed that a lot of money has already been spent to upgrade other stores over the last four years. However, the process of finding a suitable alternate location and shifting the stores would take a few more months at least, the Court was told.."If liquor is sold like any other item, issues of this nature would not exist. You (State, Bevco) want to sell liquor but do not want to be seen as selling it. That is the problem", Justice Ramachandran remarked, as today's hearing drew to a close. .The matter will be taken up again in the first week of September.