City bars can open till 10pm at 50% capacity | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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City bars can open till 10pm at 50% capacity

By, New Delhi
Jun 21, 2021 04:31 AM IST

The relaxations have been permitted at a time when courts and public health experts have warned states and Union territories against reopening too fast and triggering another outbreak.

Bars can reopen with 50% seating capacity from Monday and so can public parks, gardens, golf clubs and outdoor yoga activities, the Delhi government said on Sunday as it withdrew lockdown restrictions for the fourth consecutive week to revive the city’s economy hit by the second wave of the pandemic.

The owners of the restaurants and the bars will be held responsible for strict adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour and guidelines. (ANI Photo)
The owners of the restaurants and the bars will be held responsible for strict adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour and guidelines. (ANI Photo)

The order also said that cinema halls, gymnasiums, spas, schools, colleges and all educational institutes, swimming pools, auditoriums and banquet halls will remain closed for at least another week, till 5am on June 28.

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The relaxations have been permitted at a time when courts and public health experts have warned states and Union territories against reopening too fast and triggering another outbreak. A third national wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, they warn, may be even deadlier than the previous one as the virus may evolve.

Delhi enforced a strict lockdown, largely allowing only essential activities and services to continue, from April 19. The government began a phased withdrawal of curbs from June, starting with resuming factory operations and construction work and eventually allowing most businesses to reopen.


“Bars are allowed up to 50% of the seating capacity from 12 noon to 10pm,” the order by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority said on Sunday. The statement underscored that the owners of the restaurants and the bars will be held responsible for strict adherence to Covid-appropriate behaviour and guidelines. “In case any violation is found, strict penal criminal action shall be taken against the owner of the restaurant/bar,” it added.

Other than that, “public parks, gardens, golf clubs, and outdoor yoga activities will be allowed. Apart from the individual, parks/gardens owning agencies (MCDs, DDA, NDMC, DCB etc.) as well as the concerned RWA, owners/directors of golf clubs, yoga instructors shall be responsible for ensuring strict compliance of Covid appropriate behaviour,” the order said.

The DDMA statement also permitted outdoor yoga activities from Monday, but it said yoga centres will remain shut for now. It also specified operating hours for dine-in at restaurants, which opened last week with 50% seating capacity, from 8am to 10pm.

The other existing norms remain the same.

All shops and salons in markets, multiplexes and malls had completely reopened from June 14, but weekly markets will continue to operate in a restricted manner. Public buses and Delhi Metro services will run as usual at 50% seating capacity, and cabs and auto-rickshaws can carry two passengers per vehicle.

Additionally, the cap of 20 guests for weddings, which can only be held at courts or inside personal residences, will remain. Funerals can be held with up to 20 people in attendance. All gatherings — social, religious, political and sports — are barred, and the prohibition of visitors in places of worship will continue, the order said.

The second national wave of infections — dominated by a more transmissible “Delta” variant of the virus — was also the world’s worst outbreak between March and May this year. India recorded over 400,000 cases in a single day several times in early May — the highest any country has ever seen in more than a year of the pandemic.

The national capital took a particularly hard hit during this time. The city’s health infrastructure collapsed under the massive caseload, and in April, residents of the Capital ran pillar to post for hospital beds, essential life-saving drugs and even medical oxygen. The dire situation eased only in May after a flurry of directions by the courts.

Weeks later, markets and public places in Delhi are back to seeing high footfalls, with people crowding the area with little or no regard for social distancing and mask hygiene. Last week, the Delhi high court took note of the rules being flouted and warned authorities that the Capital will be in “great trouble” if this continues.

The Union home ministry on Saturday also warned all states/UTs not to become complacent about reopening and be on the guard against another potential outbreak.

An official of the Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government said on Sunday that the lockdown has been eased keeping in mind the city’s economy.

Gym owners said were disappointed with the continued ban. “Thousands of gym owners are now forced to shut their gyms... As a mark of our protest against this order, will are announcing a complete boycott of the Yoga day,” said Chirag Sethi, vice-president, Delhi Gym Association.

Experts say it is crucial that authorities balance economic revival with caution about a potential third wave. Dr Jacob John, former head of the clinical virology department at Christian Medical College in Vellore, said: “People have to be responsible and there should be strict and intense enforcement drives. Vaccination numbers also need to be increased gradually. The government should keep a close watch on Covid-19 trends and take its time in lifting restrictions from closed spaces such as gyms, cinema halls, etc.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Sweta Goswami writes on politics, urban development, transportation, energy and social welfare. Based in Delhi, she tracks government policies and suggests corrections based on public feedback and on-ground implementation through her reports. She has also covered the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) since its inception.

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