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Noida: 9pm closure killing restos, say owners, seek CM help



NOIDA: Their sales languishing at around 20% of the usual volume, restaurateurs in Noida have launched a protest against early closing hours in UP and sought the chief minister’s intervention to change a rule, enforced as part of Covid restrictions that, they say, is robbing them of a bulk of the footfall.

Posting with the hashtag #unlockedbutcaged on various social media platforms, members of the Noida chapter of National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) on Tuesday urged the UP government to extend restaurant service hours till at least 11pm, highlighting that dinner-time sales brought in most of the revenue but the current rule had reduced that to almost nil.

NRAI’s Noida chapter head and restaurateur Varun Khera said they were expected to shut shop by 9pm, severely affecting revenues that came from the dinner hours. Khera said NRAI members had reached out to Noida MLA Pankaj Singh, who had assured full assistance in resolving the issue at the earliest.

The NRAI has also approached district magistrates, who are awaiting orders from Lucknow. Khera said around 300 restaurant owners from Noida and Ghaziabad would send a letter to Yogi Adityanath requesting operating hours till 11pm.

Early closure of restaurants has impacted not just food outlets but other businesses in markets as well, said Sushil Kumar Jain, convener of the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) and president of the Sector 18 Market Association in Noida. Jain said CAIT had apprised all local administrators about the problem – that most businesses in the market are interconnected and one cannot expect retail to thrive while food outlets cl

Wose early.With the festive season coming up, Jain said people would either step out to eat, and shop as an afterthought, or end a shopping visit with a meal. “Being part of NCR, outlets in Noida and Ghaziabad require special laws to be able to compete with Delhi and Gurgaon. We request the CM to urgently order extended operating hours,” he said, adding 50% of eateries had not even opened since the lockdown because business was not viable. Restaurants can stay open till midnight in both Delhi and Gurgaon.

Ironically, before the restrictions came into effect, Noida had the most relaxed business hours for restaurants. A lower legal age for drinking in UP (21) as compared to 25 in Delhi and Haryana added to the advantages the UP city offered to restaurateurs. Varun Puri, who has five outlets in Noida and is opening two more in Lucknow, said many like him were encouraged to open outlets of their brands in Noida due to such progressive rules.

But currently, Puri said, while his Gurgaon and Delhi outlets of the same brands have touched 50% of pre-Covid sales, the Noida outlets were clocking a mere 20%. “With festive season starting, we expect an urgent order from the state government allowing restaurants to operate till late as at present we are expected to shut shop at the time our busiest time would start,” he said. Licensed bars could stay open till 2am, according to the new UP excise policy for 2020-21, while bars in five-star hotels could remain open till 4am.

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