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Vizag police ignore GO; curbs dent food biz

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The restriction being imposed by the Vizag City Police to close the restaurants and eateries by 10 pm is not only denting the food business but also causing inconvenience to the tourists landing in Vizag during night time. The restriction of cops contravenes a GO issued by the AP government in 2018 allowing licensed restaurants, hotels, and eateries to operate till 12 midnight. The cops have thrown the GO to the wind much to dislike of owners of eateries and restaurants.

The government had issued the GO extending the time limit from the usual 10.30 pm to 12.00 midnight for the convenience of tourists and visitors arriving late in Vizag city by trains and flights. The owners of hotels and restaurants fear a loss in business during the peak tourists’ season owing to the latest order issued by the Vizag city police. The hoteliers say that for the past one week, the police have been asking them to shut down the restaurants and eateries by 9.30 pm citing various reasons. They blame the police for their ignorance about the state government order and unnecessarily creating troubles for the industry.

Speaking to Hello Vizag, A Venkata Ramana Murthy of Andhra Pradesh Hotels’ Association (APHA) said that AP government a few years ago lifted the restrictions on nighttime business on their request to promote tourism. In October, 2018, the labour department issued an order (GO MS 25) to allow night business. The government decided to allow hotels, restaurants and eateries to operate till 12 midnight as earlier the food joints were closed by 10.30 pm. “However, the police are again imposing the restrictions of closing the hotels by 10 pm causing loss to our business. While the bar-and-restaurants in the city can operate till 11 pm, what’s the problem with the hotels and restaurants operating till midnight,” Murthy asked.

As per APHA, Vizag city has over 600 hotels and restaurants, including over a half-a-dozen star hotels. The police are either unaware of the government order or deliberately violating the order. Vizag is tipped to be a smart city and executive capital of Andhra Pradesh and it is necessary to operate the hotels and restaurants till midnight, they added. A representative of a star hotel, on the condition of anonymity, said that Vizag is a peaceful, cosmopolitan, sociocultural and tourism hub in the state. Vizag city draws a good number of visitors in between December and February.

But, the recent diktat of the police to close the hotels and restaurants by 10 pm will not only cause inconvenience to visitors, but brings losses to the hotel industry. The last flight lands in Vizag at 9.30 pm and by the time the visitors reach the hotels, the restaurants would be closed, he added. The police, on the other hand, said that as per norms, restaurants, shops and other establishments should be closed by 10 pm only.

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