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COVID-19: Delhi restaurants, bars welcome order extending opening hours



Currently, the restaurants were allowed to open from 8 am to 10 pm while bars were permitted to serve customers from 12 noon to 10 pm.

NEW DELHI: The owners of food and beverage businesses in the national capital breathed easier on Saturday as the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) extended the opening hours for restaurants and bars.

The restaurants and bars will now be allowed to remain open till their normal closing timing at 12 in the night.

However, the restriction on 50 per cent seating capacity will continue, according to a DDMA order issued on Saturday.

The mention of closing time restriction on markets and shops, restaurants and bars has been omitted in the DDMA order, meaning they are allowed to open till their usual closing times, a DDMA officer said.

While welcoming the relaxation in operational hours, Satyajit Dhingra, chief regional officer-north, Impresario Handmade Restaurants, said that the step would help “us to recover and revive our business slowly but surely”.

“A lot of our dinner guests, at both SOCIAL and Smoke House Deli, have been wanting to stay past 10 pm and extend their night timings, and being operational for longer will allow us to do just that. It also gives us room to cater to our guests comfortably without overcrowding at any point in time,” Dhingra told PTI.

The restaurants and bars were allowed to reopen with 50 per cent seating capacity from June 21.

However, a cap of 8 pm was imposed on their closing timing.

Currently, the restaurants were allowed to open from 8 am to 10 pm while bars were permitted to serve customers from 12 noon to 10 pm.

The prohibited and restricted activities according to the DDMA order will remain in force from August 24 to 31, the order said.

Anurag Katriar, president of National Restaurant Association of India, said that “following Covid protocols and extending business hours was the only way to bring a semblance of normalcy” to the F&B industry.

“This is a very good decision and we wholeheartedly welcome it. This is going to help in the recovery of the industry in Delhi and I hope other states follow the suite. Keep following the protocols, it’s a joint responsibility of both the consumers and the business owners, and keep expanding the business hours,” Katriar said.

Kabir Advani, managing director of Berco’s chain of restaurants, said they were “hopeful and positive” about the city’s approach towards the situation.

“We do care about our customers so we will be delivering food at their doorsteps taking care of hygiene and safety. We have started dine-in with normal timings i. e from 12 pm till 11 pm in night and yes, we are following social distancing with minimum capacity as announced by the DDMA,” he said.

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