COVID impact on New Year’s Eve: Restaurants in Bengaluru to cancel reservations

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COVID impact on New Year’s Eve: Restaurants in Bengaluru to cancel reservations

Hospitality industry says restrictions will spell disaster for them, and wants rules relaxed

Pub and restaurant owners are a worried lot as the State Government on Sunday announced night curfew for 10 days. They will now have to cancel reservations made for New Year’s Eve and give customers a refund for the bookings already made.

The industry is unhappy with the sudden change of plans. Ajay Nagaraj of Total Environment Hospitality said that the move was “disastrous” for the hospitality industry as it was the peak season for them. “We had planned to have a live band and will have to cancel it. Our last orders will have to be at 9 p.m.,” he said.

Agreeing, Veerendra Kamat, Secretary of Bruhat Bangalore Hotel Association, said as there was a 10 p.m. curfew, people would choose not to venture out after 8 p.m. “It is the holiday season and our revenues would be massively affected,” he said. He also questioned how a night curfew would prevent transmission of COVID-19 or a possible third wave.

The general manager of a brewery said they would have to reduce the seating capacity and would have to rework their dinner reservations. “We may have to cancel some of our reservations as the number of tables will reduce,” she said.

Some are planning to approach the Government. P.C. Rao, president, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike said they had already made a lot of arrangements for New Year’s Eve. “We will try to meet the Chief Minister or the Health Minister to at least change the night curfew timings. We also want to request the Government to do away with the 50% reservation in hotels and bars. When they allow theatres to function in full capacity, why should they only penalise us,” he asked.

Many customers who made bookings too have decided to cancel reservations and find other ways to celebrate the new year. Anand S., a software engineer, said that he had planned to visit a popular brewery in the city on New Year’s Eve. “Now, I will either celebrate New Year’s Eve at home or book a homestay in Chikkamagaluru,” he said.

Taxi associations upset

Apart from the hospitality industry, taxi drivers’ associations have also questioned the Government’s move. Tanveer Pasha, president of Ola, Taxi for Sure and Uber Owners and Drivers’ Association, said many industries were just bouncing back after facing hardships over the past two years. “Why curfew and guidelines are not applicable for political rallies,” he asked, and urged the Government to revoke its decision.

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