A day after the Surat Municipal Corporation issued notification allowing hotels and restaurants to remain open with 50 per cent capacity, the fire department on Thursday sealed 14 eateries for not following fire safety norms in Surat city. The municipal corporation will also conduct a drive to make sure all the staff employed in the hotels and restaurants are vaccinated.
Surat chief fire officer Basant Pareek said, “We have started a drive to check if hotels and restaurants in the city are following guidelines. On the first day of the drive on Thursday, 14 eateries have been sealed. It will continue in the coming days. The seals will be opened only after the firm owners give us affidavits that they will install fire safety equipment in the next 15 days.”
Ahead of SMC’s decision to allow hotels and restaurants to open with 50 per cent capacity, the Surat Municipal Corporation in the last 15 days distributed Covid health cards — white and green — among the hotels and restaurants in the city.
The green card contains the details of the facility and his employees who have taken both the doses of Covid vaccine and also information on the number of employees who have been infected and recovered. Those who had not been vaccinated or even tested for the virus are being given white health cards.
SMC deputy health commissioner Dr Ashish Naik said, “Fifteen days ago, our health teams distributed Covid health cards among the hotel and restaurant owners and instructed them to get vaccinated or get their employees tested. From Friday, the hotels and restaurants will reopen, so our teams will go around checking if they are doing the needful, else action will be taken against them.”
There are over 2,500 food carts, hotels, restaurants and dining halls in the city. “We will ensure that all our members get vaccinated at the earliest. In the next couple of days we will make a representation to the SMC commissioner to give us more time. We have demanded that the state government organises a separate vaccination camp for the hotel and restaurant industry people… We are at present working with 50 per cent staff. We have incurred great loss in the business since the start of Covid pandemic,” said South Gujarat Hotels and Restaurant Association vice president Arun Shetty.
Health officer of Central zone Mahendra Patel said, “We have made 35 teams which will go around checking health cards and ensure that all the staffers are vaccinated. The teams will also direct the hotel staff to nearby Dhanvantri raths for vaccinations. They will also check if hygiene protocol are maintained.”