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Bars can open from today with conditions in Calcutta

More than 50 per cent occupancy will not be allowed at any point

Pinak Ghosh Calcutta Published 01.09.20, 01:56 AM

The Bengal government has allowed serving of liquor at bars and restaurants starting Tuesday.

The Union home ministry’s guidelines had allowed resumption of hospitality services from June 8 but prohibited consumption of liquor at public places. So, restaurants and bars were unable to serve liquor, which constitutes around 60 per cent of their daily business.


The ministry’s Unlock 4 guidelines, issued on Saturday, did not include “bar” on the list of prohibited services.

An order issued by the Bengal excise department on Monday allows serving of liquor for consumption in the licensed area of an “on” premises (where one can sit and drink).

Besides restaurants and bars, establishments such as theatres, clubs, canteens, dak-bunglows, railway refreshment rooms, dining cars, steamers, airport, or public resorts with attached bars shall also be allowed to serve liquor from Tuesday.

But there are certain caveats:

  • Establishments in containment zones cannot serve liquor
  • More than 50 per cent occupancy will not be allowed at any point. All Covid-related orders issued by the government will have to be abided by
  • No guests shall be allowed on the dance floor, if any in the service area (the curb is aimed at avoiding crowding)
  • Food hygiene and safety guidelines issued by the Food Safety and Standards Autho-rity of India have to be followed
  • The management of bars and restaurants have to ensure that precautionary measures such as wearing masks, frequent sanitisation and social distancing are followed.

The excise department’s order also states that considering the pandemic situation, serving liquor will not be mandatory, leaving the choice to the restaurants and bars.

“It surely is a positive step forward. The reality is that the past few months have been unique in every way. Going to a restaurant is an overall experience. There is the ambience, food and beverage are all part of that experience. If even one element is missing, then the experience loses its value. But the fact is we need to be responsible about how we go ahead,” said Gaurav Singh, general manager, JW Mariott, Calcutta.

“This was much awaited and will be a great help for the revival of the hospitality industry, especially bars and restaurants. Most importantly lakhs of people will be employed again…. Typically, liquor constitutes 60 per cent of the entire sales on a daily basis at restaurants. A person who was not coming for drinks is affecting food sales as well,” said Sudesh Poddar, honorary secretary, Hotel and Restaurant Association of Eastern India.

“Based on the order, we will issue the requisite advisory from tomorrow. We will not allow more than 50 per cent at any point,” said Pranav Singh, senior partner for Opium, Sector V, Salt Lake.

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