As Covid cases spike, CM threat of lockdown sees Mumbai events being cancelled
Hotels and banquet halls in Mumbai are reporting last-minute cancellations this week, said a hotels’ association. This comes in the wake Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray telling the authorities to put curbs on weddings and other such social functions because of the surge in Covid-19 cases in the state.
Thackeray even warned that he would be forced to order another lockdown if people failed to comply with the Covid-19 guidelines. He also issued instructions that any banquet hall violating the guidelines be sealed.
For social events, the state has mandated a maximum of 50 persons at a time in the banquet hall; they should be wearing masks along and maintaining social distance.
But such strict guidelines and the fear of another lockdown have seen events like award functions and conferences also being postponed.
The Hotels and Restaurants Association Western India (HRAWI), a Mumbai-based association of hotels, confirmed that hotels have reported a large number of cancellations this week. “People are not comfortable celebrating in such an environment and so, are cancelling their events. They also fear that a lockdown may be imposed,” said HRAWI senior vice-president Pradeep Shetty.
Radisson Blu Mumbai International Airport Hotel has not been getting new bookings ever since the lockdown fear has gripped the city. “We had three conferences scheduled but they have been postponed by the organisers. In addition, we are not getting new bookings,” said hotel general manager Pankaj Saxena.
Jay Shah, owner of Popular Hospitality, which manages seven venues in the city, said people are worried because of the lockdown scare. “The next two months are the peak seasons for weddings and people are not sure if they will even be able to hold their events. This has affected our bookings,” said Shah.
Shiv Sena leader Vinod Ghosalkar cancelled his youngest son Saurabh’s wedding which was scheduled at Sahar Star Hotel at Vile Parle on February 28. Ghosalkar, who is the chairman of the repair board of Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority, booked 55,000 square feet Sapphire hall which could have accommodated 2,500 guests. Thackeray and the entire Cabinet was expected to grace this wedding.
Ghosalkar said, “Based on Uddhavji’s appeal and the rising Covid-19 cases, I have decided to cancel the wedding.”
The idea of capping the number of guests to 50 hasn’t gone down well with all. The Bombay Caterers Association spokesperson Lalit Jain said, “The very rule of maximum 50 people itself is ridiculous and it should be based on the size of the hall. We had hardly recovered from months of lockdown and this rule has ruined our businesses.”
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has intensified its drive against those stepping out without masks and also large gatherings. The civic body has also decided to shut Oval Maidan from Friday. Recently, it lodged an FIR against the parents of a newly-wed couple after it was found that they had breached the guidelines of 50 people.