Hotels in the capital can finally reopen with the Delhi government and Lt-Governor Anil Baijal’s office resolving their differences on the issue during a meeting of the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Wednesday. Apart from hotels, a decision has also been taken to delink banquet halls from hospitals and allow weekly markets “on a trial basis”, officials from the L-G house said. The Chief Minister’s Office said gyms will continue to remain shut.
“The corona situation in Delhi is much better now. The economy of Delhi has to be brought on track. For this, we had already proposed opening all hotels in Delhi, which was rejected by the central government. We again requested the central government, and we are happy that now the proposal of the Delhi government has been approved. Now, all hotels in Delhi will be opened. At the same time, the weekly markets will be opened on a trial basis. In the meantime, everyone must exercise precautions and follow social distancing,” Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said.
On July 31, Baijal had overturned the Delhi government’s decision to reopen hotels, within 24 hours of its announcement, saying the situation in the city was “fragile” and threat from the virus far from over. On August 6, the state government had sent a fresh proposal, observing that the Covid situation was “improving” and economic activities needed to resume.
Wednesday’s decision will impact around 55 five-star hotels, 120 four-star facilities, around 1,800 three-star hotels and over 1,500 budget hotels. According to government estimates, hotels contribute to 8% of Delhi’s GDP, the service sector accounts for 60% of all jobs, while weekly bazaars provide employment to nearly 5 lakh families.
Apart from Baijal and Kejriwal, the DDMA meeting saw the participation of Chief Secretary Vijay Kumar Dev, Joint Secretary (DM), MHA, Commissioner of Police, DG ICMR Prof Balram Bhargava, AIIMS director Randeep Guleria, and NCDC director Dr Surjit Kumar Singh.
The chief secretary was directed to prepare an SOP to ensure social distancing at weekly markets, located across the city’s densely populated neighbourhoods.
“Delhi cannot afford to let its guard down till the situation is normalised. We should strictly adhere to necessary preventive and protective measures and follow all guidelines related to Covid-19, both at the individual and community level, at all times, to be able to win the war against the pandemic,” an L-G house official said.
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