The Kamala Mills fire has soured the last day of the year, feel many restaurant owners. The fear of losses that they may incur is slowly rippling through the sector. According to the Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (AHAR), many restaurants in the city have already accepted the fact that there will be a huge business loss on New Year’s eve. They claim that patrons will have the Kamala Mills fire, which killed 14, in mind.”The loss of lives is so fresh in everyone’s mind. It happened on Thursday night and made the front pages everywhere. On Friday itself, many restaurant owners expressed the fear that they will suffer a loss of up to 20 per cent as people might not turn up on New Year’s eve,” said Niranjan Shetty, Chairman of MCGM committee of AHAR.According to the association, on December 31, a lot of people venture out and it is a very important day in terms of business. People visit restaurants where they are regulars, and also get guests including friends, family and relatives, which helps the restaurants earn extra bucks.Another restaurant owner said, “We are hoping for great takeaway orders at least. People normally go out, but then visiting a restaurant after the Kamala Mills fire wouldn’t be the first thing on their minds. So we are prepared for lesser business in terms of walk-ins. But we may see a larger business in terms of takeaway or home deliveries.”Apart from this, authorities have started visiting restaurants and action has been started. The associations have asked their member restaurants and hotels to cooperate. “We have directed all hotel and restaurant owners to not create any hassles and let the authorities do their work and cooperate. If they have any doubts, they should seek the help of authorities and understand what should be done to rectify the issue,” said Shetty.FALSE ALARM?After the fire engulfed the restaurants in Kamala Mills, a series of messages started doing the rounds. One such message was about parties at restaurants beings called off and it was signed by Congress leader Charan Singh Sapra. When contacted, Sapra denied sending out any such message and said it was a mischief and should be ignored. Even AHAR denied sending out any message about any party cancellation and asked people to not pay attention to rumours.PARTY STILL ONImmediately after the fire, Riyaz Amlani of Social had said that there were no party cancellations. “The parties are mostly personal ones and we cannot cancel any parties until the person who booked the place, does,” said Shetty. According to both of them, New Year’s eve will be celebrated as every year in the city too. However, till Saturday night, there were some restaurants and pubs that sent out messages about party cancellations but they were related to action taken by authorities.
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