After six month of no business, pubs in Bengaluru are ready to welcome patrons on October 3, but many proprietors are not optimistic about business picking up given the 10 p.m. deadline. Though the State government has reduced curfew timings by an hour — it will start at 10 p.m. instead of 9 p.m. — pub owners say it is not viable. They have asked the State government to delay night curfew till at least till 11.30 p.m.
Karunakara Hegde, a pub owner and vice-president of the Federation of Wine Merchants’ Association, said the pub owners were reeling under heavy loss due to closure of establishments for half a year. “We are ready to open the pubs as per the government guidelines. However, the 10 p.m deadline is not a feasible option. Before COVID-19, nightlife in the city extended till 1.30 a.m. We want the State government to give us time to run business at least till 11.30 p.m.,” he said.
Incidentally, a similar plea was made by restaurants and liquor shops when they were allowed to operate on the grounds that people would not want to dine out if they had to close early. Mr. Hegde estimated that there are around 300 pubs in the city. “Due to the pandemic, owners suffered huge financial losses as they had to bear all the expenses such as rent and staff salary,” he said. Many also shut down.
It’s not just pubs which have been affected, but also microbreweries. An owner of a microbrewery said, “The investment involved in microbreweries is huge. It will take several months to recover from losses. We have to follow all the rules to contain the spread of COVID-19 but in the interest of business there is a need to relax the deadline.” Of the approximately 55 breweries in Karnataka, as many as 15 had to close down due to losses incurred because of the pandemic.
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