1 am deadline: Who does it help?

Trade associations welcome, with some reservations, the government’s decision to allow businesses to extend working hours.
Last Updated 21 February 2024, 01:50 IST

Business owners are happy with the government’s decision to allow them to stay open till 1 am, but are not sure Bengalureans will step out to shop so late. 

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced in his budget last week that shops and establishments will be allowed to stay open until 1 am in Bengaluru and 10 other cities “in order to further trade and commerce”. Most retail businesses now close by 11 pm. Prakash Mandoth, founder-president of Federation of Karnataka Traders Association, says: “Adequate security measures need to be put in place, especially at places like jewellery shops. The deadline will have to be tried to see how it works.” 

In some bustling areas like Shivajinagar and City Market, where people shop in big numbers, public transport is accessible, he says. “Metro and bus services need to be extended to all areas so that more people are ready to step out late at night,” he says. 

Easier traffic

The Bangalore Trades Association, with member establishments on M G Road and St Mark’s Road, is excited about this extension.

Vijayashekar Ravi Deepam, president, recalls that in the ’80s, businesses had staggered hours. “Shops on
M G Road would open around 11 am, close at 1.30 pm, reopen at 4.30 pm and close again at 8 pm. They stayed closed on Sundays and national holidays,” he says.

Over the years, timings have changed and businesses stay open all day. Now, even Cauvery Emporium, the Karnataka government-run crafts showroom, is open on Sunday, he notes. “The model will work if all traders keep their doors open. Traffic is better at night, and even accessing parking is easier,” he says.

Shops will have to look at employing an additional shift, and work out the costs, many business owners say. 

‘Not for all’

Suhail Yusuff, secretary of Brigade’s Shops and Establishments Association, calls for more policemen on the roads after 9 pm.

He argues that the extended deadline works for eateries and restaurants, but not so much for other businesses. “Serious shopping does not happen during such late hours in Bengaluru,” he says.

“With apps and online platforms delivering at the click of a button, most people will think twice before stepping out,” he says. The association has 125 shops under it, but, according to Suhail, “none of them apart from bars and restaurants has expressed excitement about the move”. 

Deepak Batavia, president of Church Street Occupants Association, calls for better patrolling to make an extended deadline work. “Shops being open late during the weekends might have some takers. But malls are more secure and might see more customers,” he says.  

‘Doesn’t change things’

Manoj Singh, vice president-operations, Forum Malls, Prestige Group, says the extended deadline changes little for malls.

“Most malls with multiplexes are open till 1.30 am already, as their last show starts around 10 pm. Many F&B outlets inside are also open till midnight,” he says.

However, clothing stores close by 10 pm, and “will not necessarily benefit from the move as shopping at a mall is often a family affair”. 

“We hold midnight sales combined with discounts five or six times in a year, which sees a good response.
However, the move will not increase clothes sales,” he observes. 

Who will this work for?

Experts say that apart from hotels and restaurants (that already have permission to stay open till 1 am), such a move will also help boost businesses like bakeries, medical stores and pharmacies, and petrol bunks.

(Published 21 February 2024, 01:50 IST)

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