The order comes as another blow to the industry which is among the most affected due to the pandemic. After the closures in the first and second waves, with home delivery allowed after a certain time, then a long period of time in which they were operating at 50% of capacity and reduced hours, restaurants had only seen businesses choose only recently, before the third wave hit.
The DDMA order follows a meeting on Monday where restrictions, cases and bed availability were discussed. “In view of the increase in positive cases, it was decided to close restaurants and bars and only allow take-out. It was also decided to authorize the operation of a single weekly market per day and per zone ”, tweeted Delhi LG Anil Baijal.
Kabir Suri, president of the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), said the new guidelines were not sustainable and would impact “more than 3 lakhs of people” employed in restaurants in Delhi. “This will lead to widespread unemployment, because no one knows how long it will last,” he said, adding that more than 25% of restaurants closed last year and more than 24 lakhs lost their. nationwide employment.
After the start of Covid, the restaurant business was the first to shut down and almost the last to restart during the first and second blockages, Suri said. They were only allowed to stay open until midnight towards the end of August 2021. “This third wave is going to be even worse than last year. We have survived so far, but with the new guidelines announced today in Delhi, it seems highly unlikely that we can go on any longer, ”he said.
Suri said the frequency of restaurant meals in Delhi was at its highest – “6 times per month compared to the national average of 4.5 times per month” – while takeout / delivery was meager.
Officials at the DDMA meeting said the sharp rise in the number of Covid cases over the past two weeks and a slight increase in deaths worried authorities.
On Monday, one in four people tested in Delhi tested positive for Covid. A total of 19,166 cases have been recorded compared to 22,751 a day ago, mainly because the number of tests has increased from nearly 1 lakh to just over 76,000.
Delhi also reported 17 deaths from the infection for the second day in a row on Monday. There were 70 deaths from the infection in the first 10 days of the year, according to the data. According to the data, there were only nine deaths in December, seven in November, four in October and five in September.
The Delhi government has repeatedly stated that it is against the imposition of a full lockdown, opting instead for a weekend lockdown, even as Covid cases have increased at a faster rate than before.
Of the city’s 1.5 crore adult population, nearly 1.12 crore have received both doses of the vaccine.