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New Year curbs: Bengaluru eateries fear losing business on ‘biggest night of the year’

The establishments, which usually host parties on New Year's Eve, fear losing 70% of the business due to the restrictions
Last Updated : 23 December 2021, 20:28 IST
Last Updated : 23 December 2021, 20:28 IST
Last Updated : 23 December 2021, 20:28 IST
Last Updated : 23 December 2021, 20:28 IST

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Restaurants and pubs are upset about the prospect of losing business on the "biggest night of the year" after the government restricted New Year celebrations to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The establishments, which usually host parties on New Year's Eve, fear losing 70% of the business due to the restrictions.

While the government has categorically banned DJ parties and playing live music, a likely cap on occupancy has made pub and restaurant owners livid.

"This is a hit across the table. We have paid advances, booked their (DJ) tickets, arranged their travel. We are going to lose all that money now. The industry creates so many jobs, we generate so much revenue. But the government ignores us," said Amit Roy, who runs restaurants like Watson’s and Slug and is also a member of the National Restaurant Association of India.

As for occupancy, the guidelines issued by the government are silent on the 50% cap, according to P C Rao, president of the Bruhat Bengaluru Hoteliers' Association.

"The chief minister announced that all hotels and restaurants will have to cap the capacity at 50%. But the (government) order has no reference to the 50% seating," he stated.

Commenting on this, Chief Secretary P Ravi Kumar told DH that he would look into the matter and revise the guidelines if there was any confusion.

If the government sticks to the 50% cap, restaurants and pubs fear that will deal a body blow to their business.

"That is half of our business already gone," said Akshath Prasad, the owner of Vapour pub. He said that most pubs and restaurants, especially in the CBD, used to get up to 1,000 customers each on New Year’s Eve before the pandemic. This year, the number may not cross even 400.

Then there is the fear that the restrictions would discourage many people from partying outside. People might think that they cannot enjoy or relax thoroughly due to time and other constraints. This will likely increase house parties.

"We understand that there is a high possibility of the spread of Omicron, but how is the government going to restrict house parties and stop people from moving? Why are we (the hospitality industry) the first to be given restrictions and the last to be provided relaxations," said Mukesh Tolani, owner of Toit Brewpub in Indiranagar.

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Published 23 December 2021, 19:43 IST

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