PUNE: Restaurants and bars in the city are worried about the new restrictions imposed in the district on Sunday, in view of the rising Covid-19 cases.
As per the new orders, restaurants and bars must close by 11pm, instead of 1am, till February 28. The operators of such establishments said their business would suffer a body blow.
“Since the first phase of unlock and a relaxation in closing hours, business slowly improved. We are getting an average of 60% footfalls per day, and the fresh curbs would set us back by 20-30%,” Ganesh Shetty, president of Pune Hoteliers Association, told TOI.
“If we have to close by 11pm, we need to start winding down at least an hour before that. This means we cannot allow any customers in after 9.30pm. We currently operate from noon to midnight. Even with the relaxations, our profit margins have drastically come down as people aren’t spending as much as they did in pre-pandemic times,” a manager with Agent Jack bar, which has six outlets in Pune, said.
Two small eateries in Kondhwa, which had opened just a couple of months ago, were alarmed by the new restrictions.
“My business had started to pick up only a month ago and the new restrictions scare me. I have a lot riding on this venture,” the operator of one of the eateries said.
A representative of the other eatery, which specializes in kebabs, blamed the current situation on the authorities’ inaction.
“Some people never followed the norms. Patrons would get belligerent when we ask them to maintain social distancing. Why couldn’t the authorities clamp down on such behaviour earlier?” he said.
“We open only at 7pm. How can we do business if we must close by 10pm? Many of my colleagues lost their jobs during the lockdown. Our very survival is at stake,” an employee of Step Inn said.
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