DDMA gives approval to AAP govt. proposal; gyms to remain closed for now
The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Wednesday gave approval for reopening of hotels and weekly markets in the city. The weekly markets will be opened on a trial basis to assess the situation on the ground.
The decision was taken in a meeting of the DDMA, chaired by Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal and attended by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal through videoconferencing.
Gymnasiums, however, will remain closed for the time being. According to the Delhi government, hotels contribute to 8% of the Capital’s GDP while weekly markets provide employment to 5 lakh poor families.
Mr. Kejriwal credited the “persistent efforts” made by the Delhi government for the DDMA’s decision. He said the COVID-19 situation in Delhi was much better now and the economy of the city had to be brought back on track.
“For this, we had propo-sed opening all the hotels in Delhi, which was rejected by the Central government. We again requested the Central government and we are happy that now the proposal has been approved. Now all hotels in Delhi will be opened,” the Chief Minister said.
“At the same time, the weekly markets will be opened on a trial basis. Everyone must exercise precautions and follow social distancing,” he added.
According to Raj Niwas sources, the DDMA also allowed delinking of banquet halls from hospitals. The Chief Secretary has been directed by Mr. Baijal to prepare standard operating procedures and monitor the implementation of social distancing norms at weekly markets in the city.
The hospitality industry welcomed the DDMA decision to allow hotels to resume operations. Delhi Hotels and Restaurant Owners Association president Loveleen Anand and chairman Sandeep Khandelwal wrote: “The decision to open the hotels is a new ray of life given to us by our Chief Minister… It is a step to provide livelihood and employment opportunities. The move will also make migrant workers happy.”
In the last week of July, the Delhi government had decided to allow hotels and gyms to reopen in the city besides allowing weekly markets to start on a trial basis for seven days, with social distancing and all other COVID-19-related measures in place. However, on July 31, the L-G rejected the decision to allow hotels and weekly markets under Unlock 3 citing the fragile situation because of the pandemic.
On August 6, the government sent a fresh proposal to the L-G stating that the COVID situation in Delhi was improving. It also argued that economic activities needed to start again so that those who had been suffering due to the lockdown could resume their jobs and businesses, albeit with restrictions.