BMC to ensure clubs, restaurants follow COVID-19 norms

After several complaints of bars, hotels, clubs and restaurants remain open beyond permissible limits and were found flouting standard operation procedures, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to keep a vigil to ensure strict compliance of COVID-19 guidelines by these establishments.

The civic body will deploy teams/squads to check compliance of standard operating procedures (SOPs), COVID-19 safety protocol especially ahead of Christmas and New Year eve.

Officials said violation of the norms could lead to sealing of premises or the civic administration would impose night curfew.

"Strict compliance of SOPs on COVID-19 precaution is the foremost condition for operating the bars, hotels, clubs and restaurants. We have found that most of these night clubs, bars, hotels are flouting COVID-19 norms, patrons are entering the establishments without wearing masks and social distancing is not followed. Most of these establishments were reportedly operating beyond the permissible limit under unlock provisions stipulated by the BMC as well as the state government," said Iqbal Singh Chahal, BMC Commissioner.

"The onus is completely on the licensee/owners of the establishments to comply with the SOPs issued by the state government and BMC. We have made it very clear, that the owners of these establishments and licensee of hotels, clubs and restaurants will ensure compliance of SOPs failing which action will be taken against them. In case of violation, prompt action will be taken including sealing of premises besides an FIR will registered at the local police station against the owner and management," added Chahal.

The SOPs issued by the Maharashtra government allow for reopening of bars, hotels, clubs and restaurants etc with only 50 per cent of approved seating capacity, use of face masks and gloves by staff and patrons and social distancing is mandatory.

Last week on Saturday, a BMC team found a diner and bar in Lower Parel's Mathuradas Mill Compound blatantly violating pandemic norms. According to BMC officials, a 'global' dining and bar place, Epitome, in Lower Parel, was open even past midnight and there was hardly any social distancing between patrons and many of them as well as the staff were found without masks. The civic body then filed an FIR against the owner and management of Epitome.

The BMC teams last week raided three restaurants and night clubs where a large number of people had gathered without wearing proper masks, Chahal said.

"While an FIR was registered against Epitome, other two places M.I.T.R.O.N a bar and rooftop chain in Bandra and Barrel Mansion in Sahara Star, Vile Parle were left off with a warning. Hence the ward level squads will keep a close vigil on such establishment flouting norms. We have given them 15 days. If these restaurants, clubs and bars do not follow the Safety protocol and SOP as stipulated by the state government and BMC we will be forced to impose night curfew and order them to shut their outlets by 11 pm," he added

What action will be taken by BMC

Special squads/teams will be deployed in all 24 administrative wards in the city.

If there is a complaint of crowd gathering at any of the bars, hotels, clubs and restaurants etc, these wards will reach and conduct a spot raid/inspection and an FIR will be registered against the owner/ management.

The BMC commissioner has empowered assistant municipal commissioners of all wards to take necessary action

Besides this additional two teams will be set up to monitor the implementation of the guidelines, which will comprise of health officials, representative of Mumbai Fire Brigade and local police too.

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