Many restaurateurs were in for a good news after the government proposed to make Bengaluru open for 24×7, as they had incurred zero footfall and losses during COVID-19 lockdowns. However, residents are firm on not allowing a 24×7 city as they already lose sleep over working hours of pubs and bars that stretch till 1 a.m.
The labour department, in January, had issued a circular that said establishments with more than 10 working people will be allowed to operate 24×7. The Bengaluru police, in between all this, has maintained its practice of shutting up shops after 11 p.m. to prevent crimes.
Police officials have told media previously that a 24×7 operating city will need more men in the force to patrol and keep the city crime-free. The Bengaluru police force is known to be short-staffed, with thousands of vacancies still waiting to be filled.
Groups like the Bruhat Bangalore Hotels Association are of the opinion that extended work hours in the city will boost employment opportunities and help the city to recover faster from the economic downfall brought about by the pandemic. The association has said that Bengaluru at night has been an unexplored avenue so far and hopes that safe business can be conducted at all times in the city.
As quoted by the Deccan Herald, P C Rao, the president of the association has said, “While many restaurateurs might not want to keep their establishments open 24/7, those who would like to, should have the option to do so.”
Moreover, the rule might not be the easiest to implement in the city as bar owners and restaurateurs have reported that finding staff to work at nights is not a cake walk. The hotels and establishments of the city get peak traffic at around 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and till 11.30 p.m. on weekends.
On the other hand, RWAs say that their night sleep is disturbed in places like Indiranagar and Koramangala as establishments have squeezed into even residential areas and operate till late hours with loud music.
The conversation then continued on Twitter, with some agreeing that the extended working hours of some establishments can be a boon to those seeking employment.
While another user said “24/7 will cause unnecessary overheads for hotels in terms of labors & current/ burning lights etc. threats from bad elements. After 11.00 pm gradually the rush will be reduced in all the restaurants hence opening 24/7 light snack shops ok with bulletproof security.”
Soon, Twitterati buzzed with the news of the city operating 24×7 and many others chipped in to the debate. Reacting to Residents Welfare Association opposing the rule, one Twitter user said, “This is regressive . If enough people on the road are present at all times, ‘untoward activities’ will not happen.”
To this, a citizen activist tweeted that a host of Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) across the city opposed the rule at a press conference on Tuesday. Indiranagar, Koramangala, J P Nagar, CBD and Benson Town RWA’s were against the rule, with Malleswaram and Jayanagar RWA’s also joining to say no. The activist, by the handle Nitin Sheshadri, added that, “We will all jointly sign. You want to enjoy life 24×7? Go to 5 star hotel coffee shops. They are open. Leave us in peace. You want world class? First give world class roads, power, footpaths, water supply & sanitation.”