BENGALURU: Bars and restaurants in the city (CL9 licensees) have opened up, albeit with caution, after the government relaxed the lockdown norms early this week and permitted them to resume business between 11.30 am and 9 pm with 50 per cent occupancy and strict Covid protocols.
With their staff vaccinated with at least one dose of the anti-Covid vaccine, most bars and restaurants are also trying to convey the message to their customers that getting vaccinated and wearing masks are the best ways to beat the virus. Some of them are even offering 5 and 10 per cent discounts for those vaccinated with one and two doses, respectively.
“We have posted on social media that we are offering discounts for those who are partially or fully vaccinated. Our slogan is ‘maximum safety, maximum discount’,” said Amit Roy of Watson’s, a popular chain of bars in Bengaluru.
After being closed for more than two months, bars and fine dining outlets are seeing a “fair” amount of footfalls. While many of them opened on Monday after ensuring that their staffers are vaccinated and their outlets sanitized, some bars and restaurants opened only on Friday.
Some outlets, however, continue to remain shut, mainly because of staff crunch. “We have opened only our first floor for business because I haven’t yet got my entire staff back. Some of them are from North-East and Tamil Nadu,” said Arvind Raju of The Biere Club. “The ground floor is shut because it is air-conditioned. We will operate on first and second floor, but because of staff crunch, we have opened only one floor,” he added.
While Bengalureans are stepping out for a meal and drink, they are opting for open spaces. “We are launching Suzy-Q with a lot of open dining area and all Covid SOPs,” said Anirudh Kheny. Suzy-Q was inaugurated on Friday.
Narayan Manepally of Geist Brewing agreed with Kheny and said that after over two months, people want to step for a meal and prefer an outdoor setting. “It’s heartening to see the turnout since the lifting of the lockdown. Those who are stepping out may have got their vaccination and are confident to come out,” said Narayan.
While the hospitality industry has resumed business, they are extremely wary of a third wave. “It’s too early to say how things will shape up in the near future. But, as of now, we have decent footfall,” said Mukesh Tolani of Toit, Indiranagar.
“We did a soft launch on Thursday and we were delighted with the turnout of guests on Day One. I am not sure how things will shape out. We have been through very rough times,” said Gaurav Sikka of ABC microbrewery. The government has allowed CL9 licencees to open shop, but pubs serving only draught beer (retail vend of beer) continue to remain shut.