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Posted at: Aug 25, 2019, 9:10 AM; last updated: Aug 25, 2019, 7:57 PM (IST)

Party @1am

As timings now move past the Cinderella hour, party animals are happy and so is the hospitality sector. But is it good news for the suburbs and also from the safety angle?
Party @1am

Manpriya Singh

Everyone was hitherto forced to be a Cinderella, respect the mandatory 12 am deadline, finish their last drink and hurry back home or move to the suburban Zirakpur, Panchkula, Mohali. But recently, as the administration realised that the Cinderella was originally written somewhere in the 17th century and there ought to be an extension till 1 am, the happy news spread; well-received, obviously, by the party animals and those in the hospitality sector. 

As the DC allows discs, hotels and nightclubs to stay operational till 1 am, will the move actually revv up city’s nightlife or just adversely affect business in the peripheral suburbs? More importantly, will safety really be compromised? 

Welcome move

Amritanshu who owns a microbrewery in Panchkula and Chandigarh, feels in fact it’s a much safer option. “At least those who want to stay out till late will not be moving about and looking at other avenues,” says the director, The Great Bear Kitchen and Microbrewery. As for the move, “It’s a step in the right direction. Although we close at 12, but it’ll be better for people in the city as they will not have to go out of the city.”

While 1 am may sound early especially when compared to the clubs in the Capital that stay open well till 4 am, but it is actually the most practical deadline. “One is just perfect, it doesn’t mean much of a difference to those in the hospitality sector, but at the same time it makes quite a difference to party-goers. Especially the birthday celebrations, which means you can ring-in your birthday nicely now rather than earlier with deadline,” Ginny Chawla, MD, The Altius, puts things into perspective. Although he adds, “If it is extended to beyond 1 am then that might have entailed security issues. But 1 am is perfect.” 

No break

The move also immediately took the hospitality players back to before 2015 when the closing time for hotels and restaurants was 2 am. But unfortunately, rising crime and late night accidents made the midnight deadline imperative.   

Vipul Dua, one of the key hospitality players in the city and a member of Hotel & Restaurants Association of Chandigarh, is happy with the move because it is in fact safer. “Earlier what was happening was that business was shifting to the peripheral areas of Zirakpur, Mohali and Panchkula where the rules aren’t followed all that’s strictly. So much so that some of the places would stay operational till 4 or even 5 am. Now that there will be no break in the momentum and party-shifting elsewhere, chances are the person will wind up and go back home itself rather than elsewhere.” That partly also explains the night accidents involving drunken driving. 

Talk of demographics of people who primarily step out and define city’s night life, it’s not easier to do that either. “There are people, singles and couples who walk in between 10 to 11 pm,” adds Amritanshu, and for that segment it’s a happy move.  The only ones not so happy with the move are ventures in the neighbouring cities. “Obviously the business will be affected in the neighbouring clubs and places,” nods Vivek Khanna, the GM, Upstairs Club, Hotel Welcum Bella Vista. But how and by how much, only time will tell. Meanwhile, the party is on, well, till 1am.

Rules will be flouted?

Every since the unfortunate shoot-out in Mohali, things have changed. Says Inderdeep Singh from Hotel Cama, “With the administration keeping a close eye, everyone is following the rules.” While his fingers are crossed for the law and order situation to remain the way it should, at the end of the day, one can’t help speculating that things will go back to normal, which is rules will be broken! After all, it’s a bureaucratic town with well-connected political people or owners of these places. As for the other neighbouring towns too, like Panchkula, Zirakpur, of course, business will be adversely affected. 

Meanwhile, it’s a welcome break from asking the patrons to evacuate early and playing the wet blanket. A senior spokesperson at Social—7, Chandigarh, says, “A significant number of working youngsters get out of work commitments late. But they can now go out knowing that they have more time to unwind. At the end of the day that is real purpose of any night life.”

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