The STATE Excise Department has penalised 119 restaurant and bars in Pune district for failing to observe Covid-19 guidelines. According to excise officials, a total cash fine of Rs 19.9 lakh has also been imposed on the owners of these establishments.
According to official data, of the total 119 excise licence holding restaurant and bars which have been penalised for not following the guidelines, 66 are from Pune city, 39 from Pimpri-Chinchwad and 14 are in the rural jurisdiction.
Dine-in facilities in city restaurants reopened in the first week of October after six months. At that time, the administration had announced that restaurants will have to strictly follow prescribed Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to ensure congenial conditions are not created for the spread of the virus.
Those found violating the SOPs issued by the municipal corporation and the state government were threatened with a cash penalty, which could go up to Rs 50,000 as well as punitive action. The action was to be taken under State Excise Act and Disaster Management Act.
The guidelines include reducing seating capacity to half of usual, checking temperature of customers at entry point and ensuring that those with symptoms like fever, cold and cough are not allowed. These establishments are required to follow rules of social distancing while providing services or in the waiting area. Customers should be allowed to enter the hotel or eatery only if they are wearing masks. The establishment operators must provide hand sanitiser to customers.
“Restaurants that have been penalised are the ones which violated the SOPs. Our inspectors found the violations during routine checks and have imposed cash penalties,” said a senior excise officer.
According to data available with the Excise Department, although there are 1,800 registered bars in the city, only 596 have become operational so far
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