Noida-based pubs and restaurants are going through a tough time and are struggling to get back on their feet post the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ever since the bars and pubs reopened in the city in June after the seocnd Covid wave subsided, a sharp decline in the number of people visiting the eateries and bars has been reported.
After months, the bars and resturants in Noida were allowed to remain open on Saturdays. However, due to the strict Covid restrictions put in place, people are forced to travel to Delhi and Gurugram for dining outside. The bars and resturants in Noida are allowed to open only till 10 p.m., which has resulted in a sharp decline of diners visiting the eateries.
Vicky Saluja, owner of Noida-based Baby Dragons Bar & Restaurant, told IANS, "The industry is already reeling under the impact of the pandemic and has been severely hit by Covid, but now when the situation has started to return to normal, we are facing massive losses due to the new Covid restrictions in place."
"Most guests prefer coming for dinner from 8.30 to 9.30 p.m. But due to the time restrictions, we take the last order at around 9 p.m. This 10 p.m. deadline is tearing our business apart," he said.
"As other states are giving more relaxations in timing, we also expect some extension in the working hours from the government," he added.
Many people from Noida are now driving to neighbouring Delhi and Gurugram for weekend outings and late night parties.
"If restaurants close earlier than the usual time, why will people visit them," Saluja asked.
"We are still running our business despite all the odds. If the government relaxes the working hours up to mid night, we may be able to reverse some losses," he added.
According to the Noida police administration, the entire country is fighting a battle against the Covid-19 pandemic. Section 144 has been imposed in the district from August 31 to September 30 so that the government succeeds in fighting the pandemic.
There is a complete ban on takeaway service by hotels and dhabas from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. This restriction was imposed days after a restaurant owner was shot dead by a food delivery boy in Greater Noida.
The Noida Restaurant Association is unhappy with this order issued by the UP government. However, the restaurant operators are hopeful that some relaxations may soon be announced by the district administration.
Prakash, the manager of 'Our Story Pub' in Noida, said, "Our restaurant starts only after 7 p.m., but now we have to close down by 9 or 10 p.m. What business can we do in just two or three hours?"
"We even find it difficult to pay salaries to our staff. People only visit restaurants at night but we are not allowed to remain open after 10 p.m.," said the bar manager.
"Time restriction is a major deterrent for our business," Prakash added.
Now that restaurants and bars are allowed to remain open on Saturdays, the operators say that their appeal to the authorities will be to allow them to remain open on Sundays also, apart from some relaxation in the operating hours.