Chandigarh likely to open up hotel, restaurant services from June 1
Hotels and restaurants are likely to open in Chandigarh from June 1, with the UT administration said to be “actively considering” the matter.
As all modes of road, rail and air transport had opened with riders and there was movement of people between states and cities, backup services in terms of accommodation and food were required, said a senior UT official who wished to remain anonymous after a video conference with the cabinet secretary on Thursday.
The UT administrator will take a final decision, however, depending on the guidelines issued by the Central government, he added.
The hospitality industry was closed March 24 ever since the curfew to prevent the spread of Covid-19 was imposed even though the UT administration announced a slew of measures while lifting restrictions for businesses and industries as part of Lockdown 4.0.
According to current Central guidelines, hotels and restaurants come under the prohibitory category, that is, these cannot be opened even if outside the containment zones.
The only relaxation allowed by the administration so far, at the start of the Lockdown 4.0, was allowing restaurants to open for takeaways.
“As in the case of public transport opening up in the fourth phase of the lockdown, restaurants and hotels will be allowed to open with strict guidelines, particularly with strictly restricted occupancy. The administration will come up with standard operating procedures for the hospitality industry,” said the official.
Industry hit hardest
The industry is among those hit hardest by the lockdown.
Ankit Gupta, president, Chandigarh Hospitality Association, said, “The industry is on the verge of collapsing in the city if not allowed to open soon. It’s running into huge losses and also facing large-scale reverse migration of industry workers. The government can keep banquet and other halls closed, but individual dining should be allowed. Procedures regarding social distancing and other precautions can be laid down.”
60% Bapu Dham could be de-sealed on June 1
The administration will take call on opening up nearly 60% of the Bapu Dham Colony in Sector 26, both in the containment and buffer zones, by May 31.
This decision is likely to be based primarily on Central guidelines of no positive cases in a specific area in 28 days for de-sealing.
Bapu Dham, the epicenter of the Covid-19 pandemic in the city, is one of the six containment zones here.
Three have already been declared containment free.
“While, positive cases are being reported daily from Bapu Dham, these are limited to a few pockets. Out of the total 20 pockets in the area, two are within the containment zone and that too from just one pocket. In the buffer zone too some cases were positive but these were also limited to one pocket. We will open pockets with no case as it has been more than a month since these were sealed,” said a senior UT official.
When contacted, UT adviser Manoj Kumar Parida, said, “The UT administrator will take a final decision on it by May 31 as per Central government guidelines.”
Meanwhile, the administration has already allowed migrant workers to leave the buffer zone after proper screening.