New Delhi, Aug 19 : Hotels in the national capital were on Wednesday allowed to reopen while gyms will continue to remain closed amid the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
The decision was taken in the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) meeting chaired by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal.
In the meeting, it was also decided that the weekly markets will reopen on a trial basis.
As per Delhi government, hotels contribute to eight per cent of the city’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employment while the weekly markets provide employment to five lakh poor families.
“After having successfully brought COVID situation under control, it is a challenge to bring the economy back on track. Opening up these two sectors will help in that direction,” the Delhi Government said in a statement.
Following the decision, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that the corona situation in Delhi was much better and that the economy of Delhi has to be brought on track now.
For this, the Delhi Chief Minister said “we had already proposed opening all the 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 market will be opened on a trial basis. In the meantime, everyone must exercise precautions and follow social distancing.”
In the last week of July, Kejriwal government decided to allow hotels and gyms to reopen in the city, besides allowing weekly markets to open on a trial basis for seven days with social distancing and all other COVID-19 measures.
The Delhi government had decided to end night curfew and allow more economic activities, including normal functioning of hospitality services, in the national capital under ‘Unlock-3’ guidelines.
However, on July 31 the Delhi L-G rejected the Delhi government’s decision to allow hotels and weekly markets under Unlock 3, citing the situation as being fragile amid coronavirus pandemic.
On August 6, Kejriwal-led Delhi government sent a fresh proposal to the L-G seeking his permission to allow hotels, gymnasium, and weekly markets to reopen in the national capital.
The fresh proposal sent by Revenue Minister Kailash Gehlot said that the condition of Delhi is improving and the number of cases are coming down.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in its proposal to the L-G said that in accordance with the Centre’s ‘Unlock’ guidelines, it has the right to decide on allowing such establishments in Delhi to reopen.
The AAP government had said that COVID-19 cases have been increasing in several states and the situation is “frequently deteriorating”, but hotels, gyms and weekly markets have been allowed there. It had sought to know from the L-G why Delhiites were being stopped from earning their livelihood despite the fact that the number of coronavirus cases has been decreasing in the national capital.
Following the decision, many hotel and restaurant associations thanked Kejriwal.
“We thank Arvind Kejriwal, the beloved Chief Minister of Delhi. The decision to open hotels is a new ray of life given to us. It is a step to provide livelihood and employment opportunities. The move will also make migrant workers happy,” wrote President Loveleen Anand and Chairman Sandeep Khandelwal of Delhi Hotels and Restaurant’s Owner’s Association (DHROA).
Jagpreet Arora, President of Karol Bagh Hotel Association thanked the Delhi CM and wrote, “We would first like to thank you on behalf of the entire Karol Bagh hotel industry for granting us permission to reopen our Hotels. We appreciate the pains taken by you in helping us in this regard. We are always there for your support.”
Lodging House Owners Association President Daljeet Chadha and General Secretary Ram Arya said, “We thank you sir (Delhi CM) for unlocking our budget hotels in central district. Your continuous effort in pushing the proposal on rational reasoning has finally brought cheers to the depressed owners and importantly lakhs of workers sitting in their villages without jobs. We will follow all SOPs for COVID prevention.”