Amid the surge of global Covid-19 cases, the Karnataka government has issued fresh guidelines and restrictions in the state. The regulations are also inclusive of events and celebrations scheduled on December 31 and January 1, 2023. Several Pub and resto-bars owners are now concerned about the new rules.
Covid rules in Bengaluru
The Karnataka government has published new guidelines on tackling Covid-19 conditions in the state amid the global surge in cases. Recently, Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai said that preventative measures for Covid-19 will be implemented step-by-step across the state.
On the guidelines issued for the New Year celebration, the health ministry listed guidelines for celebrations and other events, saying, “All celebrations in connection with New Year’s eve (31st Dec 2022), and New Year (1st Jan 2023) should be completed by 1 am on 1st Jan 2023 & 2nd Jan 2023 respectively.”
“All large assemblies shall be strictly outdoor and as far as possible in the day, avoiding chills of the late night and early morning. The prescribed capacity of the areas shall not be exceeded, particularly in the indoor areas (seating) like hotels, pubs, restaurants, clubs, resorts, etc,” it added.
The advisory also asked the elderly (over 60 years of age), those with co-morbidities, pregnant and lactating women to avoid such assemblies. “The organizers, managers, and service staff shall preferably receive booster dose vaccination. However two-dose vaccination is expected,” it further read.
Resto-bars owners concerned
Meanwhile, Pub and resto-bars owners are now concerned that the time restrictions might affect their business, reported the Hindu.
The owners believe that their business will be affected at least by 20% on average due to the 1 a.m. deadline imposed by the city police. And this is happening for the third time in a row since 2020.
Most restaurants and pubs in Bengaluru have already started enforcing wearing masks and using sanitizers inside their premises.
Pubs and resto-bars are concerned that the time restrictions might make customers worried about coming out. They also said that the curfew will add to the traffic volume on the streets after 12 a.m. as everyone would want to leave the venues.
“It (restrictions) is beneficial because everyone will be safe and secure. But these are moments that come once a year and everyone looks forward to celebrating them with grandeur. If they ask us to close down the area at a specific time, then it will lead to traffic mounting up and make the situation a little more insecure than it was before. If there were no restrictions, everyone would have moved out in batches post 1 a.m. A little bit of extension would have been good,” Ranveer Sibani of Social chain of restaurants told The Hindu.
The owners also said that it was difficult to comprehend why such regulations were in place in the city, while other metros like Mumbai and Delhi are much more relaxed with their norms.
“Typically, this is the most festive season of the year. I do not think that there are such restrictions anywhere else in the country. In other big cities, they have permitted the establishments to be kept open until 3 or 5 a.m.,” said Kiran Reddy of Wanderers, a brewery in Kalyan Nagar.
The Bruhat Bengaluru Hoteliers’ Association (BBHA) on Tuesday sent out a notice to all of its members. “As per the new guidelines issued by the BBMP, everyone should wear masks, have sanitization facilities, and keep the vaccination certificate of all employees ready. It is best if customers are provided hot water and no smoking boards are put up. Let us all cooperate to restrict COVID-19,” said P.C. Rao, president, of BBHA.