Tuesday, August 3

West Bengal: Bars, restaurants get ready to party with 8-hour window, 50% seating

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Restaurant and hotel owners have welcomed the relaxation order issued on Monday and are hoping to restart business soon. Most of the stand-alone bars and restaurants will resume operation from June 16 itself while those in malls may restart after some time as they are planning to discuss certain issues with the mall authorities. The heritage clubs, however, are waiting for more clarifications before reopening its bars and restaurants. According to the order, restaurants and bars — including those in hotels and malls — may remain open from 12pm to 8pm with 50% seating capacity. The president of Hotel and Restaurants Association of Eastern India (HRAEI), Sudesh Poddar, said that the industry is very happy with the decision of the state. Poddar, who is the owner of Songhai, Manthan, pointed out that the fraternity is thankful to chief minister Mamata Banerjee. “Seeing the plight of the industry, the CM has allowed this move and most of the bars and restaurants will open from June 16,” he said.The HRAEI president added that vaccination drives are being carried out in a big way.

Initially, during her interaction with chambers and industry bodies in the first week of June, Banerjee had said that restrictions were needed because of the pandemic. But she also wanted businesses to run after taking all the necessary precautions, otherwise people would have lost jobs.

Anjan Chatterjee, the founder and chairman of Speciality Restaurants that has brands like Mainland China, Oh! Calcutta, Haka and Asia Kitchen, said this was a welcome move. “Most of our people have been vaccinated. A lot of them are in their villages now, so the establishments will take some time to reopen,” he said. Most of Chatterjee’s restaurants are in malls.
He also pointed out that bouncing back of customers this time around would be slower than after the first wave because of the higher mortality this time.

The owner of Peter Cat and Mocambo, Nitin Kothari, was also thankful to the CM. “In some other cities, it took two months for restaurants to reopen. Here it is happening much earlier. We shall carry out sanitization tomorrow,” he said. Kothari was also happy about the timings declared in the order. “We shall get customers for lunch too,” he said.

Debaditya Chaudhury, director of Chowman, Oudh and Chapter 2, agreed with Kothari. He felt the restaurants will get customers for lunch with this timing, especially on weekends. “The relaxation that has been initiated by the government is beyond our expectations. We are sure that since the majority of the sales come from dine-in, this flexibility will surely get us more business compared to the last few months,” he said.

Both Pradip Rozario, owner of KK’s Fusion and Mio Amore, and director of Aminia Kabir Azhar said they will reopen their establishments from June 16. Rozario also pointed out that they will start the stand-alone restaurant first while Azhar said that by June 15, all his employees will be vaccinated. “We are conducting vaccination drives for all our employees,” he said.

Source: Times of India

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