Restaurants in Kolkata seek late-closure permission to make most of night restriction-free Puja – Times of India

Kolkata News
KOLKATA: A large number of restaurants across Kolkata have applied for a late-closure permission on all Puja days — October 12-15 — anticipating a sharp rise in footfalls during the festival. They expect the curb on entering pandals will divert many to their favourite eateries.
While most would seek permission to stay open beyond the scheduled hours for not more than two Puja days till 2019, this time many have sought an extension for four, even six days. Bars and restaurants are now allowed to stay open till 10.30pm.

Mocambo and Peter Cat have sought a late-closure permission for six days starting October 12, something it has never done before. “This Puja is going to see a huge turnout across restaurants for pandalhopping has been restricted. Since not everyone is allowed inside pandals, many would be dissuaded from going on a puja-watching spree. They would rather keep it short and wind up by visiting their favourite restaurant,” said Mocambo and Peter Cat owner Nitin Kothari.
The Hotel and Restaurants’ Association of Eastern India (HRAEI) has written to the state chief secretary, pointing out that since night curfew (11pm-5am) has been lifted for the Pujas, a ‘similar clearance’ should be granted to bars and restaurants. “Unlike last year, the fear has receded and people are desperately looking for an alternative to pandal-hopping. So, restaurants should be allowed to operate till at least 1am,” said HRAEI president Sudesh Poddar, who also owns Song-Hai restaurant.
Oasis on Park Street, too, has sought a late closure for four days. “We are waiting for the permission. It will be good if it comes through for the crowd could indeed be larger than previous two years,” said owner Pratap Daryanani. Amber on Waterloo Street has not applied for late closure but plans to stay open till midnight if the restrictions are lifted. “If late closure is allowed, we can stay open till midnight,” said owner Sanjay Khullar.
“It is going to benefit the industry as there is no night curfew during the festivalWhen almost everything is operating normally, then the restaurant industry shouldn’t suffer either,” said Pratik Agarwal, owner, Sabka Club. “This is a time when we can make up for the losses that we have suffered through the year. Also, a majority will be stepping out at night during the festival and if eateries close early, they will be forced to flock back to pandals which could lead to crowding,” said Moumita Ghosh, partner, Miam Cafe & Bistro in Salt Lake.