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Delhi Govt allows bars to operate, restaurant industry insiders welcome move, say more outlets will open now

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More restaurants will open in Delhi from Monday as the state government allowed bars to operate and extended the dining timings till 10 pm. Serving of alcohol was not allowed in restaurants so far and the bars have been allowed to operate till 10 pm.

Rahul Singh, founder and CEO of The Beer Cafe said his nine outlets will open in Delhi from Monday. “We could not open so far as alcohol was not allowed. We had already made preparations as we had an inkling that this might happen. Covid does not choose you based on the beverage you have,” he said and added: “We will also get the jobs back. Yes, bars have to make sure they don’t get into trouble with dances etc. The government has to be strict. If somebody is breaking the law, then action should be taken,” he added.

Zorawar Kalra, managing director of Massive Restaurants that runs brands such as Farzi Café and Made in Punjab said the move will ensure that more and more restaurants open up as the viability of opening a restaurant no longer remains a question mark. “The new relaxations help all stakeholders: the patrons, employees, restaurants and the government. Longer operating hours means reservations can be spread out over a longer time thereby making social distancing even easier. We had opened three restaurants in Delhi over the weekend. This week after the new relaxations, we will open two more taking our total tally to five,” he added.

Akshay Anand, said he will open his Ophelia bar at The Ashok from Wednesday. “It’s a pleasant move that they have started opening up gradually. 60-70% of our revenues is from alcohol and we had not opened so far. This will help in getting our business back on track,” he added.

Anurag Katriar, president, National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) said the extension of dining timings till 10 pm was a ‘fairly positive’ move. “It’s a good beginning. Pubs and bar owners also have to realise that this is the new reality and opening till 1 or 2 am cannot happen for now. Bars in the city might open earlier than usual,” he added.

Saurabh Khanijo, managing director of the Kylin chain of restaurants in the capital said it will make more sense for restaurants to operate now. “Restaurants should make sure the 50% rule should not be violated. Timings have been extended by two hours and alcohol is also allowed now which makes it more feasible,” he added.

As per the new orders, restaurants are allowed upto 50% of the seating capacity from 8 am to 10 pm, while bars are allowed upto 50% of the seating capacity from 12 noon to 10 pm. The owners of the bars and restaurants shall be responsible for the strict adherence to the prescribed SOPs and all instructions issued by the government from time to time as well as compliance of Covid appropriate behavior to contain the spread of Covid-19. Strict criminal/penal action shall be taken against the restaurant and bar owners in case of violations according to the order dated June 20.

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