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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Banquet hall closure in Delhi throws several weddings off schedule

🔴 Families, hall owners stare at losses, seek relaxation

Written by Gayathri Mani | New Delhi |
January 1, 2022 1:56:44 am
Covid curbs, covid restrictions, Delhi weddings, Delhi Covid news, Covid news, Delhi news, Delhi city news, New Delhi, India news, Indian Express News Service, Express News Service, Express News, Indian Express India NewsThe restrictions kicked in under the ‘yellow’ alert. (Archive)

With banquet halls closed under the first level of restrictions of the Covid graded response action plan (GRAP), people with weddings scheduled between January and March next year have requested the government to provide relaxation to those who booked banquet halls, paid an advance, or made full payment for halls, catering, and decorations.

Heena, a Ghaziabad resident, said, “My wedding is scheduled in February, and we made all bookings … We also paid an advance of Rs 11 lakh for the hall, catering, decorations, and other things. Although the government has implemented yellow alert restrictions, with cases rising daily, they may impose a lockdown.”

The 27-year-old added, “We even sent out invitations. Reducing the guest list from 200 to 20 is not feasible, there are more than 20 members in my family alone. The government should provide some relaxation or allow weddings at 50% seating capacity… Otherwise, my hard-earned money will go to waste.”

As per DDMA guidelines, only 20 persons are allowed at weddings which are to be organised at court or at home only.

Rajkumari (23), a resident of Sagarpur, who has her wedding scheduled on January 15, said, “I am worried because we paid half the amount in advance for a banquet hall. The government is concerned about people’s safety, but it should also be lenient to those who made arrangements for weddings in January.”

Zakir Hussain, a resident of Shahdara, whose wedding was slated for next month, added: “When restaurants and bars are allowed to open at 50% seating capacity, why are banquets halls completely shut?… We request the government to open banquet halls partially, with seating arrangements complying with social distancing norms.”

Banquet hall owners are also staring at losses. Sandeep Goyal, owner of Asax farm banquet hall at Hauz Khas, said, “It is a complete loss for us. People have started postponing weddings and many have cancelled bookings fearing a lockdown. This is peak wedding season and at least 30-40 wedding-related functions, anniversaries, birthdays happen here. It will not only hit us but will also affect staff and workers.”

The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) also wrote to L-G Anil Baijal and CM Arvind Kejriwal to provide relaxation in restrictions and reopen banquets halls at 50% capacity.

When contacted, a senior government official said, “The restrictions are imposed as per the GRAP. Cases are increasing in Delhi. If we allow banquet halls to reopen, they may turn into super spreaders. If people follow the rules and cases come down, restrictions will be revised and things may get back to normal.”

Meanwhile, on Thursday, the New Delhi Municipal Council closed all 9 barat ghars (wedding halls), shaadi grounds and nine community centres under its jurisdiction. It also appointed a nodal officer and issued directions to impose DDMA guidelines immediately until further orders.

Besides, all NDMC porta cabin gyms and two multipurpose gymnasiums have been closed until further orders.

“All parties may be informed that their bookings stand cancelled with immediate effect as per orders dated 28.12.2021 issued by the principal secretary (revenue) / divisional) Commiss-ioner,  GNCTD (DDMA), for pandemic of Covid-19 and omicron disease and 100% refund will be allowed on priority basis,” read the circular issued by Parag K Singh, Director, Welfare.

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