Almost a week into the fresh curbs to check the surge in Covid cases, restaurants and malls have been witnessing a massive plunge in their footfall.
Friday and Saturday were no different. The start of the second weekend of the New Year was terrible in terms of business, said restaurateurs and mall operators.
The sheer volume of the new Covid cases has instilled a sense of deep fear in the minds of a section of people, who are reluctant to step out unless absolutely necessary, they felt.
Across the city, a majority of the tables at eateries were empty on Friday. “Things are very, very slow,” said Rajiv Kothari, owner of Bar-B-Q on Park Street.
“Very few people are stepping out. Fewer people are coming to eat,” he added.
Restaurants can operate with a 50 per cent cap and have to wind up by 10pm, according to the existing guidelines.
Enforcement of the norm is not bothering owners and staff at all, because the footfall is nowhere close to 50 per cent.
Debraj Bose, who owns the Park Street franchise of Pa Pa Ya, said barely 10 per cent of the tables were occupied throughout Friday. “We have not had to remind even one diner about the 10pm deadline because by 8.30pm, the whole place is deserted,” he said.
The sprawling atrium of South City mall was almost empty throughout Friday afternoon.
“The second Saturday of 2021 saw over 80,000 visitors. Today, the number was just over 15,000,” said an official.
The weekends in the beginning of the years are usually crowded. “People who are coming in are doing so because they genuinely need to buy something,” he said.
The food court at Acropolis mall only had a handful of tables occupied on Friday afternoon.
“The sale at the food court in the first week of January so far has been only 20 per cent of the sale in the first week of December 2021,” said an official.
Quest Mall was also deserted throughout the day.