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Coronavirus Unlock 3: Hotels, banquets in Delhi can open, no decision on gyms

Coronavirus Unlock 3: Hotels, banquets in Delhi can open, no decision on gyms

Coronavirus Unlock 3: Hotels, banquets in Delhi can open, no decision on gyms

The Delhi government had on Wednesday de-linked around 40 hotels and 77 banquet halls attached to different hospitals to augment the city’s Covid-19 bed capacity.

The Delhi government has decided to allow hotels, hospitality services, street hawkers to operate and do away with the night curfew hours applicable between 10 pm and 5 am under the Centre’s Unlock 3 plan, the third phase of the gradual lifting of curbs announced to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

The Delhi government will allow weekly bazaars to operate for a week on a trial basis to check if social distancing norms are adhered to. An official order to implement the relaxations in Delhi is likely to be issued by Saturday, said a senior government official.

However, even though the Centre has allowed gymnasiums and yoga centres to operate, the Delhi government is yet to take a call on it.

Senior government officials said that L-G Anil Baijal in his meeting with Kejriwal on Wednesday had expressed his unwillingness to open gyms and yoga centres as of now. “So, the chief minister has said that a decision on this will be taken in a week’s time after consulting with al stakeholders,” an official said.

A media advisor to the chief minister said marriages/events with the restriction of 50 people can now be held in banquet halls, which come under the hospitality services.

The Union home ministry issued the plan, “Unlock 3”, on Wednesday prepared after receiving feedback from states and in consultation held with central ministries and departments, to open up more activities outside containment zones.

“These decisions are in continuation of several important decisions taken by CM Arvind Kejriwal in the past few days to ensure Delhi’s economy, which was impacted severely by the lockdown, gets back on track,” said a a statement issued by the office of chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday.

Regarding hotels, the statement said, “Since hotels of Delhi are no longer linked to hospitals, Delhi government has also decided to allow normal functioning of hotels and hospitality services, as already permitted under Centre’s unlock guidelines.”

The Delhi government had on Wednesday de-linked around 40 hotels and 77 banquet halls attached to different hospitals to augment the city’s Covid-19 bed capacity.

Sandeep Khandelwal, president of Delhi Hotel and Restaurant Owners’ Association, said: “It is a great relief for thousands of people who are directly or indirectly employed with the hotel industry – from managers, housekeeping staff, chefs and waiters to plumbers, electricians and scores of other people engaged in different roles. Now that the economy is reviving, it may take a month or two, but business will get back to normal very soon.”

Gym owners said they expect the government to allow them to operate soon. Chirag Sethi, vice-president Delhi Gym Association, said: “This is a very tough situation for us. We expect the government to allow gyms to open as soon as possible because livelihood of over a lakh people in Delhi depend on fitness industry. More wait will cause more revenue loss for the industry which had been completely shut for over 120 days. Gym owners have already started organisation of their gyms and are preparing SOPs to operate gyms and fitness centres. We will meet the CM tomorrow and appeal the government to open gyms without any further delay.”

Arbind Singh, national convener of National Association of Street Vendors in India, said: “It is a welcome move because street vendors are struggling since the lockdown was implemented. Now, the government should urgently implement the street vendor law so that designated spots can be earmarked for them. That would help ensuring better safety norms and social distancing in the days to come.”

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