Restaurant, marriage palace owners seek relief in night curfew curbs

Imposition of night curfew in the state from December 1 has come as a shocker to the hospitality sector.

City’s hotel and restaurant owners rued that while their businesses were already affected due to the ongoing pandemic, the imposition of night curfew will further take its toll.

As per the directions issued by the Punjab government on Wednesday, night curfew will be clamped from 10pm till 5am and all hotels, shops and marriage places will have to down shutters by 9:30pm.

Restaurant owners said that most of the footfall is witnessed after 8pm and the new restrictions will hit their existing business by 50%. Also, the labour force will again move out in absence of work, they added.

The vice-president of Hotels and Restaurant Association, Amarjit Singh, said, “We were already getting 35-40% response due to the ongoing pandemic and the imposition of night curfew will further bring down the footfall. The restaurant business will again shrink. The government should review its decision.”

The restaurant owners have demanded that the government should at least allow home delivery of food during night, otherwise “it will be difficult for them to survive amid pandemic”.

Owner of Basant restaurants, Bhupinder Basant, said, “The dine-in business will almost come to an end with the imposition of night curfew. The government should allow home delivery of meals to prevent the sector from collapsing. Already, many of the labourers have not come back after the lockdown and more will leave in the absence of work.”

Traders stated that the announcement has also put the shopkeepers in a tight spot. Even though the night curfew is not expected to affect traders as most of the shops are shut by that time in the city, it has instilled fear among them about their future prospects.

General secretary of Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal, Sunil Mehra, said, “The government should have discussed the matter with traders before announcing the night curfew. No relief has been provided by the government and this move will further reduce footfall in the market as the public will now fear stepping out of the houses even during the daytime.”

Wedding plans in troubled waters

Panic has gripped the owners of marriage palaces and their customers, who have booked night events between December 1 and 15. Owners said that patrons have already started calling to cancel or reschedule the ceremonies.

Marriage palace and banquet hall owners have sought from the government a ban on the entry of new guests after 9.30pm, while urging it to allow the guests who have already arrived to attend the functions post-deadline.

President of Hotels and Restaurant Association Amarvir Singh said, “We will not allow new guests after 9.30pm. The government should pay heed to our problems, otherwise we will suffer huge losses as bookings have already been made.”

Marriage Palaces Welfare Association chief Amarjit Singh Sant said they were now in a tight corner. “Even the customers are in panic and continuously calling up to cancel or reschedule the events,” he added.

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