New Delhi: Where will you be as the clock strikes 12 to usher in a new year? That was the question of making endless rounds on Thursday, December 31 with the sudden announcement of a nighttime curfew in the city which threw many projects into disarray for those celebrating outside their homes and for flooded hotels and restaurants. cancellations.
As hospitality players struggled to understand the fine print of the Delhi government’s decision and what it would mean for establishments that had accepted reservations and were ready for a New Year’s Eve party, some revelers canceled their plans and others hastily changed them. . For many others, it would be a New Years Eve at home anyway.
The night curfew will be imposed from 11 p.m. on December 31 to 6 a.m. on January 1, then again from 11 p.m. on January 1 to 6 a.m. on January 2, says the order issued Wednesday, December 30 by Delhi Disaster Management. Authority (DDMA) due to the spread of COVID-19 and its highly transmissible British strain.
He also said that no more than five people will be allowed to assemble in public places.
“You can’t party with friends and family with all these restrictions’ I was planning on going out with friends, but after the nighttime curfew my parents asked me to give up the ‘idea. I will now be home, said 26-year-old Nipun Malhotra, a businessman by profession.
There were many more like Malhotra and hotels and restaurants large and small said they had received many calls canceling their pre-reservations even though it was really not necessary.
Several establishments, hoping for a turnaround after nearly 10 months of little to no activity, told people the restrictions imposed were on “public places” – which include parks, atriums or other open space – and not public places. “authorized premises”. But the confusion persisted, and many customers, eager to avoid trouble and nervous about getting caught on their way home, canceled anyway.
“The order mainly asks us – the restaurants – not to accommodate more than 50% of our capacity for the New Year’s celebration. Now that’s what we were already doing. All other restrictions are for public spaces, Rahul Sarin, owner of Dineroom and Teo Lounge, said PTI.
“But people who watch news channels showing articles like ‘No New Years Celebration in Delhi’ after nighttime curfew and things go wrong. It has impacted our business as I get several calls. for the cancellation of reservation, ”he said.
Dr Eish Singhal, PRO Delhi Police, raising awareness of the latest DDMA guidelines of 12/30/2020 for public gatherings in Delhi on December 31, 2020 and January 1, 2021@CPDelhi @LtGovDelhi @PMOIndia @HMOIndia #Wear a mask #Wash your hands pic.twitter.com/pUfRnPrRn5
– #DilKiPolice Delhi Police (@DelhiPolice) December 31, 2020
Delhi Police PRO Eish Singhal broadcast the same message.
“Licensed premises have been exempt from this, they can continue to operate with their condition of license, including half of the seating capacity and other COVID-19 protocols,” Singhal said.
Some like Rohit Kochhar, owner of the Fly Bar restaurant in Rajouri Garden, have blamed the government for its eleventh hour decision.
“New Year’s celebrations in Delhi were canceled at the last moment. We made all the arrangements, be it food, work and reservations. Why was it not announced a few days ago? He asked.
Several five-star hotels had also made big plans for New Years Eve in the hopes of finally seeing people back in their restaurants and bars, offering cocktails and selected menus and special stay packages.
The Hilton Garden Inn, Saket, for example, which offered a stay for two, as well as a full-fledged festive treat, at a reduced price of Rs 12,500, said many “ non-resident ” guests had canceled.
“We are seeing an impact on attendance after curfew as many non-resident guests have canceled their plans. A few hotel guests might choose to celebrate in guest rooms or in our ‘India Grill’ restaurant,” he said. said Shyam Kumar, operations manager at the hotel.
The ITC, Maurya, New Delhi, had a range of offerings for the festive meal, including a special “midnight buffet” from 12:30 pm to 3 am. But that was likely canceled and senior officials said they were still discussing the order with relevant authorities and would follow any guidelines imposed by the government.
But curfew or no curfew, coronavirus or no coronavirus, there will be enough people who want to bring in the new year and celebrate no matter what, said Ricky Sethi, co-founder of Talli Station .
Sethi is optimistic that the same tribe will be present this time around and save the day for the food industry.
“People are pretty smart and they would do whatever it takes to celebrate the New Year. So what a lot of people did after the nighttime curfew went into effect was they changed their schedules.
“For example, a senior police official who came to our house with his family at 8 p.m. before, called me and said he would come at 6 p.m. now. What I mean is that : People who were ready to come earlier could finish tweaking the plan now, but we’ll stick with it, ”said Sethi, who has four outlets in the capital.
Many states, including Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan, have also imposed new restrictions ahead of New Year’s celebrations to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
According to Public App, one of the largest location-based social networks in India, “78.82%” – out of more than a lakh of Delhi residents surveyed – said they would rather celebrate New Years than home rather than any hotel or restaurant.