Mumbai: Restaurants inside clubs not ready yet
Officials say several aspects to be considered before reopening as clubs are not allowed to open yet, have a larger area that needs managing
Restaurants have been allowed to open for dine-in services but those inside clubs are still preparing to join their standalone counterparts. Officials of some clubs said that restaurants inside clubs have a different dynamic as clubs themselves are not allowed to resume yet.
Clubs have massive spaces and they are supposed to be closed for now. Only playing tennis is allowed and there is a curb on the number of people entering. A number of clubs have a store inside, selling groceries with strict regulations. While dining at restaurants within clubs, members may meander into the club or lounge around having beverages, unlike restaurants where people leave after their meals. We have to be wary of that," they claimed.
Radio Club at Colaba started a delivery service sometime back. File pic
The National Sports Club of India (NSCI) at Worli is up for the opening-restaurants challenge. Atul Maru, honorary secretary, said, "We are holding meetings for opening our Viceroy (Continental and Italian) and Maharaja (Indian) restaurants. These are outsourced so we have been talking to the contractors. We have also thought about opening up some kind of delivery or parcel service, though plans are nascent."
Committee member Viren Shah said the old NSCI clubhouse with the restaurants and the next door Dome which is a COVID facility is "completely segregated." Maru finished with a laugh, "We hope to give our members some good news by Dussehra."
The eating facility at Malabar Hill Club
Planning and prep
Radio Club at Colaba started a parcel service some time ago to whet the appetites of club members. "Our take away service is doing well, with all guidelines adhered to," said General Manager (GM) Kamlesh Anjaria. "We will have a meeting soon as to how to go about opening our Harbour View restaurant, maybe with a limited menu at first because of the staff crunch which needs to be factored in," said Anjaria.
Just a little north of Radio Club, the Garware Club at Churchgate is chalking down plans to open restaurants in different phases. Raj Purohit, executive vice-president, said, "In Phase I, we will open our restaurant on the ground floor, but first we are pasting notices about guidelines on boards across the club. We will be looking at takeaways, food parcels very soon."
Garware Club at Wankhede Stadium is making a phase-wise plan for reopening. File pic
Purohit said that in the second phase, they will open their thali speciality restaurant called Swaad, and in the third phase, "We may open the bar. I do not have a definite timeframe but we are mulling starting as soon as possible. We are also going to open our banquet hall within the club, a big space for a very small crowd of 50 according to government guidelines, by November."
The chairman of Haji Ali's Willingdon Club, Adi Narielwala simply said, "We have not taken any decisions with reference to the club's restaurants, we will do so, very soon."
The Cricket Club of India (CCI) president Premal Udani said, "We have a takeaway service which is doing well. We are studying procedures to see how we can start, maybe dine out service on our lawns, since that is open to the sky and there will be social distancing. We will begin gradually. It is better to err on the side of caution."
The Bombay Gymkhana's Vijay Rai took a similar, cautious approach.
"We are analysing hygiene, infrastructure, staff strength, all that needs to be in order to start," said the Fort club's president. While Chetan Shah of Malabar Hill Club said, "Things are still at the meetings stage."
The Wodehouse Gymkhana at Cooperage has decided not to open any restaurant within. Said its president Mohan Lalvani, "While restaurants have been given the green light, clubs have to remain shut. So, there should have been more clarity on the issue of restaurants inside clubs. We also have to think about members coming in. Clubs have a majority of senior citizen members. I am a senior citizen, and I may not want to step out."
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