Government has ordered restaurants to close down by 10.30 pm as part of the guidelines Credit: Representational Image

Guwahati: The new set of COVID-19 guidelines issued by the state health and family welfare department for Durga Puja has created confusion among restaurant owners in the city.

As they try to adapt to the notification, most restaurateurs in the city say that the new notification which extends the closing time to 10.30 pm against the old order which set the time as 9 pm during Durga Puja days lacks clarity.

“I as a common citizen, could not reach out to the actual notification and rumours were being spread so I heard different timings, and then again government changed the timing yesterday from 9 pm to 10.30 pm. It would have been better if the government had given us clear instructions,” said Anupam Bakshi, proprietor of 28 Jam Street Cafe.

In a partial modification to the guidelines issued on Thursday, the closing time for restaurants has been extended from 9 pm to 10.30 pm till October 26.

Also Read: No cultural programmes, testing for priests; Assam govt lists guidelines for Durga Puja

“We haven’t received a clear message, whether we can allow customers to dine-in in our restaurant or if there are other protocols to follow. It is quite unclear,” stated Hrishikesh Pathak, owner of Punjabi Tadka, a restaurant in Bhangagarh.

Urban Mantra, a restro lounge in Guwahati has formed its own schedule. They are allowing customers to enter till 10 pm, and by 10.30 pm they will call it a day.

“We are trying to abide by the government guidelines and formed a time-table of our own to entertain our customers and ensure that we close down by 10.30pm,” said Gautam Choudhary, owner of Urban Mantra.

Also Read: Pomp and glory a miss as Assam all set for low-key Durga Puja celebrations

Restaurant chain ‘Fat Belly’ plans to abide by the guidelines and would avail dine-in services for customers and follow the directed norm to close down by 10.30 pm.

“We will follow timing as directed the government during the puja days and decide till what time we can allow customer to enter accordingly,” said Palash Deka, owner of Fat Belly, Beltola.

Until last year, the festive season was marked with people flocking restaurants as they remain open till late at night. However, the picture has completely changed this year.

The hospitality industry has been among the ones to take a massive hit with customers shying away from availing their services since COVID-19 outbreak. Owners say that their business has cut down by 80 to 90 percent since the government imposed a nationwide lockdown.

Also Read: Restaurants in Guwahati suffer 60 to 70% losses due to pandemic; many shut

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