Tuesday, August 3

Kolkata: Eateries can now serve food after midnight, but not liquor

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Hungry after midnight? You need not fret over finding food any more. The Bengal government has amended its rules to allow eateries to stay open post midnight to serve food even though their bar section would have to close at 12am.

The move comes 14 months after the state excise directorate issued a notification that said “at the end of the opening hours not only the bar but also the service area as demarcated in the approved business plan or site plan, like a restaurant attached to the bar, shall be closed”. An amended notification on Tuesday states “at the end of the opening hours only the bar/bars attached to any restaurant or hotel shall be closed”.

The order has come as a huge relief to restaurant owners in the city.

Restaurant owners have been urging the government to revisit its November 20, 2018 order since it had been notified.

“We had been pleading with the government to limit the closure diktat to the bar section only. Finally, it has heeded our request and we couldn’t be happier,” said Pranav Singh, president, Hotel and Restaurant Association of Eastern India (HRAEI).

“After the earlier order, no customer was allowed to stay on the restaurants’ premises, not even in the service area. Guests taking longer to finish their meals had to be asked to leave even if they were not consuming alcohol. This resulted in a dip in sales by over 30%,” claimed Singh.

The HRAEI wrote to former state excise commissioner Randhir Kumar saying that while they would comply with the bar closure timings, it was impossible to push customers out while they were still having dinner.

More letters were shot over the past one year, the most recent one on January 6, 2020, to current excise commissioner Khalid Aizaz Anwar. The government finally relented this week.


Source: Times of India

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