In keeping with the festive cheer, the state government has decided to reopen amusement parks from Friday, but the water rides will remain off bounds. The government also announced that the operation timings of restaurants and shops will be extended. A notification to this effect will soon be issued.
The relaxations were decided during a meeting between Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and the state Covid-19 taskforce headed by Dr Sanjay Oak. At present, restaurants are allowed to dine-in services till 10 pm across the state as per the government’s Break The Chain order. The government has already allowed reopening of cinema halls and drama theatres from Friday by strictly adhering to the Covid protocols.
“It has been decided the timing of restaurants and shops will be extended. It has also been decided to reopen amusement parks from October 22, but they can operate with dry rides as water rides are banned,” the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said. The CMO did not mention any timeline for extending the timings.
“We are slowly easing restrictions and the number of patients seems to be declining. We are also reopening cinema halls and theatres from October 22. There is a constant demand for extension of timings of restaurants and shops. Therefore, direction to prepare guidelines for extending their hours has been given,” Thackeray said.
“Although the second wave has subsided, the danger of the third wave is still there, and it is very important to wear masks, keep a safe distance, and keep your hands clean,” Thackeray appealed.
The issue of vaccination for children was also discussed. The CM has instructed the Health Department to be in touch with the Centre and plan for the vaccination drive once a decision has been taken.
The Indian Hotel & Restaurant Association (AHAR) president, Shivanand Shetty, said that “restoring Mumbai restaurant timings to pre-Covid days” was a very positive step. “During the festive season it is a very required step and will add to the festive spirit. We appreciate the efforts put in by the healthcare workers and the state government to control the situation we were in, during which the industry suffered a lot.”
Sherry Bhatia, president, Hotel & Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI), said, “In cities such as Mumbai, evenings begin late. Closing time of 10 pm, though forced upon by prevailing circumstances, was impractical for both restaurants as well as diners. Most restaurants operated these hours in losses to maintain continuity and salary of the staff.”