For bars, pubs, buzzing phones and long waitlists a sign of hope

For bars, pubs, buzzing phones and long waitlists a sign of hope

New Delhi: After a brutal second wave of COVID-19 infections in the city and a strict lockdown that was extended several times before restrictions began to be eased, Delhi residents seem more eager than ever to start socialising once again — at least according to constantly ringing phones at pubs and restaurants and their long waitlists.

The Delhi Government, as part of its' 'Unlock' measures, has allowed bars and pubs (serving alcohol) to reopen and restaurants to remain open for extended hours. The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) issued orders on Sunday that bars will be allowed to reopen from June 21 from 12 pm to 10 pm at 50 per cent seating capacity.

Similarly, restaurants can now serve patrons from 8am to 10pm, while following all COVID-19 safety regulations.

At Tamasha, a popular Pub in Connaught Place, favoured especially by younger clientele, said that they expect large groups and had already been receiving several phone calls enquiring about the pub opening from Monday onwards.

Sly Granny, another popular restaurant and bar at Khan Market, said "a lot of deliveries and takeaways were happening" even during the lockdown. "Deliveries have picked up like anything."

Dine-in has been popular ever since the lockdown was lifted. "We receive more than 25 calls a day and we have a waiting list for people who want a table", they said. Business is expected to boom even more when they start serving alcohol from Monday onwards.

"Ever since the lockdown was lifted, we have had a steady incoming crowd, although as per COVID-19 protocol we can only seat upto 50 per cent capacity. From tomorrow we will be able to serve alcohol till 10pm and we have been receiving too many calls every day regarding reservations and similar dining inquiries," Farzi Cafe, which has two popular outlets, in Connaught Place and Cyber Hub in Gurgaon, said.

"We were also delivering food during the lockdown from our Gurgaon location and it was a popular option for our patrons. Calls for delivery went up when the lockdown was imposed".

While a boost in business is to be expected with reducing COVID-19 cases and more relaxed restrictions, one thing different from last year is the eagerness of residents to start stepping out again. When bars and restaurants were allowed to reopen in 2020 after the 1st wave of COVID-19 infections in Delhi, owners and staff were skeptical due to the initial lukewarm response by patrons, owing perhaps to a fear of the unknown or a high regard for personal safety/health.

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