Govt dithering disrupts dine-out plans

Govt dithering disrupts dine-out plans

Restaurants are trying to work around ever-changing government rules

After multiple U-turns on a week-long curfew, the government has finally allowed restaurants to keep open for New Year’s Eve.

As things stand, restaurants have to shut by 1 am and adhere to 50 per cent occupancy, and entertain only those with confirmed bookings.

Manu Chandra, president (Bangalore chapter) of National Restaurants Association of India, welcomes the decision.

“This brings in a sense of accountability and responsibility. Also it doesn’t rob people of the opportunity of going out and having a good time,” he says. The pandemic has left most restaurants in a bad shape, he says. “We barely make enough money to pay the staff and cover rents. We haven’t made any profit in the last 10 months,” he told Metrolife.

The government is constantly changing rules and that has hit year-end business, say business insiders. Neel Sharma, business head for Fox in the Field, Whitefield, says customers are cancelling bookings because no dancing is allowed.

For restaurants like The Open Box and Misu, on St Mark’s Road and Indiranagar, respectively, offer only dine-ins. Founder Amit Ahuja says, “We are really hoping for people to dine with us and end this year on a positive note for restaurateurs.”

Hotels are encouraging people to book rooms and stay the night. Utsah Sehgal, director of rooms at Renaissance Bengaluru Race Course Hotel, explains, “It’s just like any other room booking, and only two or three people are allowed in a room. We want to follow protocol and keep everyone safe.” Given the changing rules, some places feel they should just cancel their plans. “This may not be worth the headache. We don’t know what’s next,” Sehgal says.