Restaurants to Close by 6 PM Every Evening from Today, Takeaways to be Allowed
Restaurants operating inside hotels would continue to function as they would also have to cater to hotel residents
GUWAHATI: In a decision that might bring back bad memories of COVID phase 1 for the restaurateurs and people in the restaurant business, the Assam government on Tuesday said that restaurants will have to close down by 6 PM every evening starting today as a preventive measure to fight COVID.
Briefing the media about the new COVID guidelines issued by the state government today following directions from the Union Home Ministry, Assam Chief Secretary Jishnu Barua said, "All restaurants which are not in hotels will have to close down by 6 PM. Though we have said that these restaurants will have to remain shut for the next 10 days, we will review the situation in the next three days".
The Chief Secretary said that takeaways will be allowed and these operations would be on with strict COVID protocol like mandatory face masks, hand hygiene, and social distance. Read more
"It will hurt us financially. But we will abide by whatever the Government rules are," Founder Director of J14 chain of restaurants in Guwahati said.
Reacting in a much sharper manner, S N Farid, Proprietor of Uruka group of restaurants said, "this will be suicidal for us. We are yet to recover from what we had been through last year. We did not get any relief from the government. But we will comply with the guidelines".
The restaurant owners are looking for more clarity in the guidelines.
The decision to shut restaurants every evening by 6 PM, would put the restaurant owners and workers under stress one more time as it was the restaurant business that was among the worst hit due to COVID lockdown last year. The restaurant business has barely been able to crawl out of the financial distress that they had been through and it's time again for them to shut shop. Read more
"A supplementary SOP would be issued," Barua said at the briefing where Assam DGP Bhaskar Mahanta and Principal Secretary Health, Samir Sinha was also present.
The government issued a stringent set of guidelines to be followed by everyone till April 30. The guidelines have come at a time when Assam recorded 1,367 COVID positive cases on Monday.
The government's SOP has listed out curbs on public transport, public and religious gatherings, marriages, private parties, and funeral. Guidelines have been issued for educational institutions as well.