The decision by the government of Uttar Pradesh to impose a curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. has lowered morale among hospitality professionals as restaurant, pub and bar owners fear they will suffer significant losses during the holiday week from December 25 (Christmas) to December. 31 (New Year).
The hospitality industry hoped on Christmas and New Years to recoup losses suffered throughout the year from previous curfews.
“After a very bad year in business, the last week of December was our only hope of generating income. This week is very important for us because it generates income equivalent to a month of activity. Now, with the 11pm curfew going into effect, a large number of guest bookings for Christmas and New Years Eve are being canceled. We expect a loss of at least 40-50%, ”said Umang Tewari, co-owner of Local Noida restaurant at Gardens Galleria shopping center in Sector 38, which opened just a month ago.
“Our launch in Noida was also delayed due to Covid-19 and curfew restrictions in Uttar Pradesh. Business has not even started to pick up and the nighttime curfew will calm people even more, ”he added.
Restaurants and pubs in Noida are licensed to operate until 1 a.m., but will not be able to do so during the nighttime curfew.
“On these days, especially New Years Eve, most customers arrive between 9 and 10 p.m. and stay until 1 a.m. to celebrate New Years. But now the attendance will definitely go down as it is not used to. nothing to go out on New Years Eve if you can’t stay out until midnight, ”said Saurabh Agrawal, founder and CEO of Rubarru Clubstraunt, Gardens Galleria.
Earlier on October 20, the government of Uttar Pradesh lifted the nighttime curfew, which had been in effect from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. since April.
“It has only been two months since the nighttime curfew in UP was lifted. Before we can make up for lost business, we’re hit with another curfew. We expect a loss of at least 50% of income, ”said Yogesh Sharma, owner of The Flying Dutchman restaurant and pub. It has points of sale in sectors 62 and 32.
Some restaurants had also booked artists to perform over Christmas and New Years, which will have to be canceled now.
“Considering we’ve all gone through two nationwide shutdowns, where restaurants have had to pay owner rents, shopping center maintenance and employee salaries, with the government announcing nightly curfews, the losses are going to be huge. We had booked a singer to perform in one of our outlets at Christmas, but we will have to cancel the event, ”said Naresh Madan and Sharad Madan, co-founders and directors of the group Imperfecto which owns points. sales in sectors 38 and 32.
Manish Khatter, owner of The Bar Company in Sector 38, added that customers visit pubs and restaurants because they feel safe observing that Covid protocols are followed.
“All the restaurants follow the Covid protocols because it has become a new standard and our staff are also fully vaccinated. The hospitality industry diligently follows all regulations to provide a safe environment for guests. At such a time, the nighttime curfew hurts our feelings, ”he said.
Varun Khera, head of the National Restaurant Association of India, Noida Chapter, said the restaurants will cooperate with the government’s decision.
“We will cooperate with the government’s decision to impose the nighttime curfew. However, this nighttime curfew distinguishes restaurants and pubs that stay open until 1 a.m. and that doesn’t seem fair considering the restrictions were only lifted two months ago. The nighttime curfew hits the hospitality industry the most because we are the first to be affected and the last to be relieved, ”said Khera.
On the flip side, medical experts say that while the nighttime curfew may affect businesses, it is a step in the right direction to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
“The new variant of Covid-19 is known to spread five times more than the previous one. In addition, active cases of Covid-19 have started to increase in Gautam Budh Nagar, which is even more alarming. In addition, large gatherings on such events also present a risk of turning into super-spreaders. In such a situation, a nighttime curfew is a precautionary measure to control the spread of infection, ”said Dr Sunil Awana, President of Indian Medical Association, Noida Chapter.
Meanwhile, District Magistrate Suhas LY said all facilities will have to follow government-imposed restrictions. “The decision was taken after much deliberation and must be followed by all establishments. District authorities have been urged to ensure that the restrictions are strictly enforced, ”Suhas said.