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We love partying, but our safety is of utmost importance: Mumbaikars

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After the catastrophic fire at Kamala Mills in Lower Parel on December 28, Mumbai witnessed a dip in New Year party reservations and relatively low-key celebrations across restaurants, pubs and lounges. It’s been a week since the tragedy, but even in the new year, Mumbaikars are being cautious about venturing out. The tragedy has left people shaken, and there has been a drop in the business.

‘Right now, the mood is sombre, but people will start going out again’
Unlike previous years, Mimi Majumdar, a 31-year-old financial analyst, skipped her regular New Year Eve plans this time around. She says, “After the incident, my friends and I decided to spend New Year’s at home. This was a first, since we love going out to restaurants and pubs to hang out. Even now, our plans of partying anytime soon are on hold because the tragedy has affected us. It will take time, but I am sure everything will be back to normal.”

But there are some like Vinay Chowdhury, a 28-year-old entrepreneur, who believe that life has to go on, especially in a city like Mumbai, which is known for its vibrant nightlife. He says, “Post the Kamala Mills incident, the BMC will hopefully make sure that restaurants in the city have the required permits and follow the safety regulations.

Right now, the mood is sombre, but in a few weeks, people will start going out again. In fact, I am also planning to go out with my friends on the January 26 weekend.” Kalpana Menon, a 25-year-old banking professional, adds, “We love partying but our safety is of utmost importance.”
Thirty-year-old Sebtain Sultanali believes that it’s time authorities assure citizens’ safety at restaurants and pubs. The media professional from Dubai, who is in Mumbai for a vacation, shares, “I have lived and studied in Mumbai, and have enjoyed some of the best parties with my friends. I am sure that the city will bounce back. However, restaurants and the government need to ensure safety of partygoers.”

Meanwhile, those stepping out are being extra cautious. Garima Sood, a 28-year-old HR consultant, says, “I never did this earlier, but now, I look out for exit points wherever I go. In fact, two days ago, I even went online and learnt how to use fire extinguishers. It’s no point blaming the authorities alone; we also have to ensure our personal safety and avoid places that don’t meet basic safety standards.”

Restaurants and pubs take a hit
The fire tragedy has affected the F&B business. Riyaaz Amlani, restaurateur and managing committee member of National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), says, “There has been almost a 30 to 40 per cent drop in business after the fire incident. This week, Tuesday and Wednesday saw the lowest number of patrons dining out. People are still in shock; hopefully, things will improve in the weeks to come.”
According to Adarsh Shetty, President of the Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (AHAR), the fall in business has been considerable. He says, “Our association has always emphasised on the need to have proper licences and permits in place, and on a regular basis, we have been sending out notices and advisories to our members.”

No more ‘flair’ in bartending at the moment

Meanwhile flair bartending — where expert bartenders tactfully flip bottles of alcohol and perform fire tricks at the bar — has stopped in the city. The few places that had it, have decided to refrain from it. An employee of a pub in Lower Parel, where flair bartending was popular, shares, “Even though we take precautions while performing, we have decided to stop it for now.”

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