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Friday, January 21, 2022

Delhi Disaster Management Authority extends Covid restrictions till Dec 31 | India News

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In a decision that would limit Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Wednesday extended till December 31 midnight its COVID-19-related curbs such as the ban on social and cultural gatherings and the cap on bars and restaurants to operate with 50 per cent of seating capacity.

In an order, the DDMA said the currently permitted and restricted activities in Delhi will continue up to the intervening night (12.00 hrs) of December 31 and January 1.

Under a phased reopening with improved COVID-19 situation in the city, the DDMA has permitted most of the activities. However, political, social, cultural, religious and such other gatherings are still not permitted.

Apart from the cap of 50 per cent of seating capacity on bars and restaurants, the order also continued the restriction on banquet halls to hold events other than meetings and conferences, exhibitions and marriages.

In the pre-Covid period, hotels, bars, restaurants and banquets halls used to be jam-packed with revellers during Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations.

READ | Omicron spreads fast in Britain, 78,610 Covid cases recorded in a day

Restaurateurs were disappointed with the decision and said they were hoping to recover the losses incurred during the pandemic by organising events on New Year’s Eve and Christmas.

Rahul Singh, the owner of Beer Cafe, said, “Multiplexes, cinema halls, buses — everywhere 100 per cent capacity is allowed. So what have we done to deserve this? It is disappointing. We were hoping to come out of the losses that the industry has suffered during the pandemic but now it looks difficult.”

He said it is understandable that there is a threat of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus but questioned whether singling out restaurants and bars is the only solution to ward off the fear of spread of infection.

Joy Singh, co-partner of Raasta and Yeti, said, “We have had some bookings for Christmas and New Year and we will have to refund the money of some customers and that will be a loss for us. Of course, regular customers will be given preference in bookings.”

However, he said that looking at a bigger picture, this is slightly a better solution. “If by taking some precautions, we can contain the spread of virus and prevent a situation that may call for a complete lockdown, it is better,” he said.

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