Leading food delivery platforms Swiggy and Zomato have started home delivery of alcohol in Ranchi and plan to expand the service to other cities as efforts continue to prevent overcrowding of people at shops amid the coronavirus pandemic.
This is probably for the first time that home delivery of alcohol has been launched by organised players.
Several states, including Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala, have been looking to permit home delivery of alcohol.
Liquor shops were mostly closed in the first three phases of the nationwide lockdown that started on March 25. In the fourth phase, which began from May 18, liquor shops have opened except in certain places. The extended lockdown is to end on May 31.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court asked states to consider non-direct contact or online sales and home delivery of liquor during the lockdown period to prevent the spread of coronavirus on account of crowding at the shops.
According to Swiggy and Zomato — which started home delivery of alcohol on Thursday — the move would not only enable responsible consumption of alcohol but also promote social distancing.
Swiggy said it has started home delivery of alcohol in Ranchi and is in an advanced stage of discussions with various state governments to provide support with online processing and home delivery of alcohol in their states.
The service has gone live in Ranchi and would be launched in other major cities in Jharkhand within a week, Swiggy said in a statement on Thursday.
Zomato said it would go live in Ranchi on Thursday and seven other cities in Jharkhand over the next couple of days.
“With due permissions and licences in place, we are starting home delivery of alcohol in Jharkhand. We believe that a technology-enabled home delivery-based solution can enable responsible consumption of alcohol as well as provide an option that’s safer and promotes social distancing,” a Zomato spokesperson said in a statement.
Swiggy said it has introduced measures such as mandatory age verification and user authentication to complete deliveries.
“By enabling home delivery of alcohol in a safe and responsible manner, we can generate additional business for retail outlets while solving the problem of overcrowding, thereby promoting social distancing,” Swiggy Vice-President (Products) Anuj Rathi said.
Taking advantage of its existing technology and infrastructure to enable hyperlocal deliveries, Rathi said the company has been working closely with the local authorities to support them with initiatives like expansion of grocery delivery and COVID-19 relief efforts, he added.
The company is partnering with authorised retailers after validating their licence and other required documents as outlined by respective state governments, Swiggy said.