Kerala

Bars, restaurants to open with 50% capacity

The State government has allowed indoor dining and in-person service in restaurants; bars; beer and wine parlours; and toddy shops with a limited seating capacity not exceeding 50% of the capacity from Sunday.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said patrons should provide proof of vaccination, at least two doses or a recent RT-PCR negative certificate to get served. He said that even proof of recent recovery from the infection would suffice as a passport to admission to the establishments.

The government has also withdrawn the regulation that required citizens to provide proof of vaccination or RT-PCR negative results for outdoor activity.

Staff and waiters should be fully vaccinated. Hotels and bars should not serve customers in closed air-conditioned spaces. They have to leave the doors and windows open for free air circulation.

The announcement has come as a leg-up for the hospitality industry, a powerful driver of the State’s economy. The pandemic had almost decimated the hotel industry, forcing hundreds of hotels and wayside eateries to shut shop.

Thousands of workers lost their jobs. A small percentage of hotels stayed afloat, relying on takeaways and online delivery. However, they had to share a portion of their profit with online food ordering and delivery platforms.

Mr. Vijayan said new infections showed a downward trend. More than 90% of the State’s population have received at least one dose of vaccine. Kerala appeared to have blunted the edge of the Delta variant driven COVID-19 second wave. The State could safely dial down regulations and open more sectors.

Mr. Vijayan said swimming pools and indoor stadia could open immediately. Staff and patrons should have received at least two doses of the vaccine. Unvaccinated persons below the age of 18 should not access the facilities. Those who violate the mask and physical distance mandate still risked prosecution and fine.

Mr. Vijayan said the government would soon allow cinema theatres to operate with limited capacity. “We are examining the possibility,” he said. The administration would enable private tuition centres to resume classes as the situation improved further.


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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 10:22:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/bars-restaurants-to-open-with-50-capacity/article36670330.ece

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