Mumbai island city guardian minister Aslam Shaikh said the timings will be restored to pre-Covid times i.e. 1.30 am by the end of the week, all other conditions remaining the same including a 50% occupancy limit.
Restaurants, bars, cinema halls and theatres can resume operations from October 22. At present the business hours have been limited to 10 pm. The hospitality industry has been urging the government to extend business hours both from the economic point of view as well as for better implementation of Covid norms, especially social distancing.
With the first zero-covid-death day getting registered in the city on Sunday, and considering the recent statement made by BMC before the Bombay High Court that it was not expecting a third wave, the Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (AHAR), had once again reiterated its demand for extending the operational timings of city restaurants to pre-covid time period, i.e. till 1.30 am taking into account that Diwali was round the corner.
Previously, AHAR had written to the BMC Commissioner and Maharashtra chief minister requesting the same. “It’s a great achievement for BMC and state administration to achieve control over the pandemic. Interestingly, BMC has told the high court that Mumbai was safe and the vaccination drive was going on smoothly without any shortage of vaccines. The Civic body also revealed that while 97% of the city population had received the first shot, 55% were fully vaccinated. So restaurant, hotel and bar owners do not see any reason to stick to 10 pm timing,” Shetty pointed out.
HRAWI senior vice president Pradeep Shetty said, “We have been petitioning the government that original economic activity should be restored. Since Mumbai is the most restricted region in the whole country, we are very pleased to know that chief minister Uddhav Thackeray has taken such a positive stand. This will help in the revival of the hospitality industry in the backdrop of huge losses,”
“For multiplexes and cinema halls timing is not of any consequence today but the occupancy is. Unless the full occupancy is not allowed in the halls, large budget movies will not be released as they will not be financially feasible then. The industry will not come to normalcy unless these mega movies release and start doing pre-covid business. However, we are happy and thankful to the government for its positive step to allow night shows,” said Prakash Chaphalkar, secretary of the multiplex association of India.
Shivanand Shetty said, “Due to the 10 pm deadline, we were able to do only limited business. Like the BMC is concerned about the citizens, we are equally concerned about the safety of our patrons and will instruct our members to strictly adhere to all the SOPs. Owing to the pandemic, the industry has undergone a lot of hardships in the past 18 months and now since things are opening up and festive time is fast approaching, let’s not dampen the festive spirit with restrictive timings.”