Business gains momentum, but bars in Chandigarh stare at long road to recovery
With the Chandigarh administration’s order allowing local bars to reopen from September 1, their business slightly improved, but owners say they’re only seeing 20%-30% customers of what they used to witness earlier.
Proprietor of Pyramid lounge and bar at Elante mall, Sunveer Sondhi, who is also the city head of National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), said, “Clubs are learning how to handle people as per the SOPs issued by the administration. Even if the 50% cap on the number of people inside is lifted, we will still be able to manage the crowd and ensure that social distancing is maintained. It would help us with our business also.”
The administration’s decision to allow events with up to 100 people at banquet halls has also been received positively by some of the bar and banquet owners here. President of the Chandigarh Hospitality Association, Ankit Gupta, who also runs Himani’s Vertigo lounge in Sector 35, said, “The opening of banquet halls is good news for the hotel owners. However, no relaxation has been extended to bars. Business is improving, but it is still nowhere near the point it used to be before corona times.”
Sector-26 outlets bounce back
The Sector-26 market on the Madhya Marg, which houses some of the city’s famous bars, lounges, and clubs, had suffered a major setback during the lockdown. The business, however, has started to flourish again, owners of various establishments say.
Inderjit Singh Banga, proprietor of Sector 26’s Prankster and head of NRAI’s Gurugram chapter, said the situation in their market is improving every day. “When we couldn’t serve alcohol, our business dropped to just 10%. But now, it has climbed by 30%-35%. Weekend is the best time for us. We are gradually regaining our confidence,” he added.
Director of Social in Sector 7, Manish Goel, who also runs Swagath hotel in Sector 26, said the situation has greatly improved for both these markets. “We have been able to get the youth segment back, but families and middle-aged patrons still avoid visiting us,” he said.
However, a bar owner, on the condition of anonymity, said in the absence of proper checks and surveillance, many illegal activities were going on. “In Sector 26, various outlets have started serving hookah, which is not allowed. They have also started hosting live band performances, which are not allowed as per the SOPs. But there is no one to monitor,” he added.