The Chennai Corporation is issuing notices to 63 clubs asking them to apply for licences for their restaurants. The clubs have contended that since only members are allowed they cannot be construed as public places and do not come under the ambit of the civic body, a senior Corporation official said.
The official said that according to Section 279 of the Chennai City Municipal Corporation Act any place where members of the public are admitted for consumption of food or drink or any place where food is sold or prepared for sale should have a licence.
“The restaurants in clubs will now be treated as eating houses — the same class as restaurants — and an annual licence fee collected accordingly. Time would be granted to the clubs to apply for licences. Similar rules could apply to bars,” the official said. Assistant Health Officers of the Corporation's Health Department are in the process of inspecting the clubs.
Among other things, they are checking whether proper hygiene is maintained in the kitchens and if those working in eateries have food-handler licences that are issued by the civic body. Restaurants pay an annual licence fee of Rs.6,000 and those serving meals and coffee have to pay 50 per cent more.