BENGALURU: As it turns 39 this month, Bengaluru’s iconic ice cream parlour Corner House, has one wish: That it’s staff, partners and customers remain safe amid a raging pandemic. It has also chosen to do something about it. On May 10, the day a statewide lockdown took effect, Corner House announced on its Instagram that it would close temporarily, during the month that it turns 39 years old. “Although this has been a difficult decision, we recognise the reality of a collapsing system and the strain on our already overwhelmed first responders, who are doing their best to keep us afloat.
We also need to protect our own, many of whom are miles from home at a time when safety and familiarity are needed most,” it’s management said on their Instagram page. The reaction to the news was mixed. While some expressed sadness, others showed appreciation and assured Corner House of their loyalty once it reopens. Corner House is not alone in making such a decision against the backdrop of rising cases. Other restaurants and cafes in the city share the ice cream parlours sentiments - to do whatever they can to help during this unprecedented crisis.
Shylesh Jain, partner at Nevermind Bar & Social, says, after the lockdown last year, they were open for deliveries with safety protocols in place. But with the surge in cases, Jain and his partners chose to temporarily close doors on April 28. “The safety of our staff is of utmost priority and is our responsibility. Our staff is tucked in safely in the staff accommodation and meals are taken care of by us. We are taking this time to get our entire team vaccinated and urging everyone to do the same so when we reopen after the lockdown, it’s a safe environment for everyone,” he says.
Nidhi Nahata of JustBe Resto Café was one of the earliest to make the hard decision of prioritising health over profit. They closed on April 22. “It was a tough call but we chose what is need of the hour. There is a huge loss because even though our income is zero, expenses like rent, electricity and some amount of salary still remain the same,” says Nahata. “We had three cases among our staff and after that, we just didn’t want to risk them or our guests. This is also our way of showing solidarity with the country and being a part of the efforts to break the chain,” she adds.
Gawky Goose Kitchen and Bar is open for delivery, but it has chosen to assist in the medical crisis another way. Since the restaurant is closed for dine-in, director Dr Kiran Kumar used the restaurant space to hold a blood donation camp as hospitals and blood banks are facing shortages. It was organised on Wednesday, in collaboration with Cause is Life, Lions Blood Bank and Rashtrotthana Blood Centre.
“The response was positive, we had 60 donors. We are looking at doing a donat ion drive again amongst other initiatives in a few weeks time, keeping the guidelines in mind,” says Kumar, adding that the following weekend will also see a vaccination drive for the restaurant’s employees.