With govt lifting night curfew, Bengaluru’s nightlife gets a fillip | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: Nightlife in Bengaluru is fast regaining its usual vigour after the government scrapped night curfew last week. Stakeholders in the hospitality and entertainment sector say the size of the weekend crowd after Deepavali was close to pre-Covid times.
Last Friday, the state government lifted night curfew that was in force between 10pm and 5am. With Covid-19 cases plummeting, it also eased several other restrictions. Also, in a big boost for businesses, the Covid-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), at a meeting on Tuesday, told the government that no curbs are needed in Karnataka any more.
“We reviewed the pandemic situation in both a global and national context and we found no reason for any restrictions on business activities and citizens,” said Dr MK Sudarshan, TAC chairman. Some experts have also said a third wave of infections is unlikely given widespread vaccination coverage and since no new variant of the virus has emerged.
With the number of daily fresh cases hovering around the 300-mark and the case positivity rate well-contained below 1% in all 31 districts of the state for more than two months now, the government has decided to focus on economic recovery while keeping a close vigil on public health and safety.
“Ever since night curfew was lifted, we have been keeping a close watch on Bengaluru city and reports are encouraging so far,” said KV Trilok Chandra, special commissioner (health), Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike. “However, people should not get complacent. They must strictly adhere to Covid safety norms, and those who are yet to get the second dose of the vaccine should not delay taking it.”
The most cheerful response to the decision to relax night curfew was from the entertainment sector, as all single-screen theatres and multiplexes resumed night shows starting at 9.30pm. As a result, shopping malls also witnessed improved footfalls in the evenings while food courts saw an increase in the dinner crowd.
“Normally, people in Bengaluru love to go out late in the evening, and, for them, scrapping of night curfew has brought normalcy,” said Mohit Bhargava, regional director (south), Inox Leisure Ltd. “We are seeing good crowds at multiplexes for night shows especially with the release of Kannada hit films like ‘Bajarangi-2’ and non-Kannada films like ‘Annathe’ and ‘Suryavanshi’.”
Officials from the excise department said about 90% of the 1,100 pubs and 1,900 bars and restaurants have reportedly resumed late night business, but the response has been relatively slow. Representatives of the sector say it will take some more time for pubs to return to normalcy, as people are yet to venture out in groups for late night parties.
“For now, family crowds are coming to pubs, but a major chunk of business is from the office crowds in Bengaluru. This segment is yet to pick up since work from home is still in force in a majority of organisations,” said Manoj Singh, cluster director of Nexus Malls that runs Forum chain of malls. He said business in malls is about 80% of pre-Covid levels.
The biggest deterrent for restaurants is the hike in prices of commercial gas (LPG) because of which hoteliers have hiked prices of food and beverages.
“Relaxation of night curfew comes at a time when hotels have increased menu prices. So, footfalls are low for now, but we are confident it will improve,” said PC Rao, president of Bruhat Bengaluru Hotels Association.

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Sagar Biswas

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