As part of the fourth phase of 'Unlock' of the restrictions imposed in the wake of Covid-19, bars in the national capital, which were closed for over the past six months, are about to reopen next week - but in a new format.
Bars might be opened from September 9 but this time, everything would be different as a lot of changes will take place in order to ensure the safety and health of both the customers and the staff.
Drinking perched on stools at the bar counter might be a trend in the pre-COVID times, but this will not continue when they reopen next week as it might lead to close contact between the bartenders and the customer and might raise the risk of contamination.
This time when the bars reopen, Saturday nights might not be the same again as the gatherings would be limited to the availability of the tables and the crowd would reduce by almost 50 percent.
Speaking to IANS, Harshad, the Food and Beverages (F&B) Manager at Delhi's iconic Taj Palace Hotel said: "Our iconic 'The Blue Bar' was shut for more than six months and we are really happy that time has come for us to serve our guests again. We are eagerly waiting to serve them again while keeping their safety and health as our utmost priority."
"The bar culture would be witnessing a complete change as there would no more large gatherings, and you won't see 300 people standing and enjoying on a Saturday night. The service procedures would be changing completely. Most of the items including the coasters, and napkins would become one-time use and technology would become an integral part of the new procedures and protocol," he said.
With an increasing shift towards technology, the bars would no longer have paper menu cards and everything would get digitalized. "Before entering the bar, the guest would sanitize himself followed by a thermal scan. After entering the bar, the customer would have a QR Code in front of him which he would scan to place his order. The payment too would be through digital mode only," the F&B manager said.
Bar snacks commonly called 'Chakna' would be in sealed bottles so that the customers have the satisfaction that they are safe.
The bars would have mandatory non-invasive thermal screening, disinfection of bags, touchless hand sanitization, and presence of hygiene kits for use by the customers. These will also have a physical distancing enabled layout with bar stools completely removed.
Augmented disinfection of all surfaces including high touchpoints such as tables, sofas, bar counter, and adherence to physical distancing protocols by server/bartender and customers would be mandatory.
The use of personal protective equipment by servers and bartenders will also be a must in order to ensure complete safety.
Going in line with the Unlock 4 guidelines of the Central government, the Delhi government on Thursday allowed the bars to reopen in the national capital from September 9 on a trial basis till the month-end.
Lt Governor Anil Baijal has approved the Arvind Kejriwal government's proposal to reopen bars in the national capital from the coming week.
As per the latest guidelines, hotels, restaurants, and clubs in the national capital will be allowed to serve liquor from next week.