Noida: Bars and pubs likely to open in a weekUpdated: Sep 04, 2020, 23:38 IST
Noida: Bars and pubs in Gautam Budh Nagar, which have been closed for the past six months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, are likely to reopen in a week, officials of the district excise department said on Friday.
However, the officials said that these establishments will have to follow Covid-19 guidelines to be issued by the Uttar Pradesh government.
“The state government is planning to reopen bars and pubs in the region in a week, as the country is in unlock mode. The government will soon issue a standard operating procedure for these outlets to function. These guidelines will be strictly followed,” said RB Singh, district excise official, GB Nagar.
The development comes a day after the Delhi government approved the reopening of bars and pubs from September 9. As per the Delhi’s plan, only asymptomatic staff and customers will be allowed entry and such establishments can’t use more than 50% of their seating capacities.
In GB Nagar, there are 77 licensed establishments, including hotels, pubs and bars, which serve liquor, Singh said. He further said that customers need to compulsorily wear mask, use hand sanitizers and maintain social distancing in the bars and pubs once they open.
Noida hoteliers and bar owners said that the government should give relaxations in the licence fee as more then six months have passed since the outlets were closed.
Akhilesh Sakhuja, owner of The Patiala Kkitchen -- a restaurant-cum-bar in Noida Sector 18, said that he has planned to open the restaurant on Monday. “Initially, we will open for food only. The beverages (wine/beer) will be served once we get permission from the district administration,” he said.
Sakhuja said that the coronavirus pandemic has badly affected the hotel and restaurant industry. “We pay ₹10 lakh as annual licence fee to serve liquor in the restaurant. But for the past six months, the restaurant is closed and there is no business. The government should relax the licence fee norms,” he said.
The managing director of a leading hotel said that pubs and bars should be opened, but with all necessary precautions. “The hotels and restaurants have opened, but they are not getting the traction they used to get in the pre-lockdown times. The industry’s revival will depend on the number of footfalls in coming days. Opening pubs and bars is a good step, but the government and the operators must observe complete safety measures,” he said, requesting anonymity.
According to the excise officials, the coronavirus has also affected the sale of liquor in the district. “In the current financial year, from April to August, the GB Nagar excise department has recorded the sale of 28.66 lakh Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) bottles and 71 lakh beer bottles this year. However, during the same period last year, 33 lakh IMFL bottles and 1.25 crore beer bottles were sold. In the first five months of financial year 2019-20, the department had collected ₹337 crore as revenue against this year’s ₹322 crore. The annual target of the district excise department is ₹1,240 crore,” Singh said.
The government had closed all liquor shops in the district since the lockdown began on March 23. The liquor shops were reopened after 40 days, on May 4, when chaotic scenes were seen at different places.