KOLKATA: Owners of bars and restaurants in West Bengal have urged the state government to increase the seating capacity to 75 per cent from the existing 50 per cent to meet running expenses. Occupancy was capped at 50 per cent when restaurants and bars reopened from September 1 in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We will urge the state government to increase the seating capacity ceiling in restaurants and bars to 75 per cent. A letter will be sent to the chief secretary of the state on Monday in this regard,” said Sudesh Poddar, president of Hotels and Restaurants Association of Eastern India (HRAEI).

He said good footfalls have been reported at bars and restaurants in Kolkata since reopening, particularly during weekends.

“But, with the 50 per cent ceiling, it is becoming difficult to meet staff salary expenses and other operating costs, which have increased in order to adhere to safety protocols,” Poddar said.

There are around 400 restaurant-cum-bars in the metropolis.

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