Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, June 6
Even though the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) allowed restaurants to reopen on June 8, about half of the eatery owners in the city are not willing to restart their business due to odd timings and restrictions on serving liquor.
While the local hospitality industry has decided to get back to business, around 50 per cent of the local restaurant owners have decided against it.
Following the MHA directions, the UT Administration has allowed dining places, excluding bars, to operate till 8 pm under strict rules.
Some local businessmen said the step would not help them recover even the operating cost. “While the hospitality industry is set to reopen, nearly 50 per cent of the restaurant owners are reluctant to restart their business. The Administration has allowed operations till 8 pm, which means one has to be there by 7 pm. This is an odd time to serve. As most of the people like to dine out during late evenings, we were expecting the Administration to be more lenient on timings for eateries,” said Ankit Gupta, president, Chandigarh Hospitality Association. He added, “The condition of closure of bars is also one of the main reasons that most restaurants are likely to remain shut till the end of this month. Many have to pay fixed rental costs. If they open, salaries, electricity bills and cost of raw food and other material will add to their misery.”
A leading restaurant owner, requesting anonymity, said even allowing 50 per cent occupancy would not help. “The Administration has allowed 50 per cent table occupancy for restaurants, but did not realise how many people go out for lunch. Our main business remains during late evenings when families are free. Takeaway is another major concern for us, as people prefer to order takeaways from small-time eateries, not restaurants.”
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