Delhi Restaurants All Set to Offer Al-Fresco Dining
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With the winter sun out and the slight chill in the evening, it’s time to make the most of this much-awaited season. It is the perfect weather for sipping on hot chocolate, going out on dates, spending the day with friends or just stepping out for a hot cup of coffee. And it seems like the Delhi government too understands how it is the perfect time to enjoy the breezy weather while dining in an al fresco setup. Earlier, many of the favourite spots in the city - including Khan Market and Connaught Place - had closed open-air dining, following orders by the Municipality Corporation of Delhi (MCD). But now, the restrictions have been lifted and Delhi restaurants and hotels are allowed to serve food in open spaces and terraces. 

This comes as a relief both for the restaurants and customers, who can’t wait to make the most of the winter season sitting in the bright sun or in the chilly winter evening, enjoying cocktails and delectable food. The timing couldn’t have been better, as the current pleasant weather is bound to attract people for outdoor dining. As Saurabh Luthra, of Romeo Lane, says, “Delhiites can now enjoy the weather and the skyline. Perfect timing for the announcement. We really appreciate this move by the Delhi Government.” 

The official statement read, "The MCD has approved the grant of licence for use of open space and terrace for dining purposes. In supersession of all earlier orders, servicing of food is now allowed in open space and terraces." The order has also let go of the requirement to procure an additional fire safety certificate from the Delhi Fire Service, if the open space is on the ground floor or on the upper floors, having an area of 90 square metres, and is already in possession of fire NOC. Additional fire NOC is required only if the existing establishment has an area of less than 90 square metres, but with the addition of open space, the total area goes over 90 square metres. 

The policy has been levied uniformly for all restaurants in the southern, northern and eastern parts of the city. While the new order is a welcome change, it also comes with a set of new guidelines by the authorities that should be met to avail of the licence benefits. Here are the guidelines: 

  • No cooking or preparation of eatables shall be allowed in the open space, terrace, or part of the terrace.  
  • The act of drinking in the open space/terrace by the persons sitting there should not be visible to the passerby.   
  • If the open space is visible from other nearby high places, additional measures will be taken to obstruct the visibility from such high places.  
  • The restaurant should ensure that people do not indulge in any activity, such as throwing articles outside which may be a cause of disturbance to the outsiders/passerby.  
  • The service area shall not be covered with any temporary/permanent structure and fast-food stalls, ice cream parlours, as well as paan and bidi stalls.  
  • No music beyond the permissible limit and no live performance will be allowed.   
  • Access to the overhead tank shall not be obstructed at any point.  
  • The total number of guests at the venue should not exceed the permissible seats sanctioned for seating inside the eating house.  
  • Twenty-five percent of the total area on the terrace adjacent to a staircase shall be kept vacant. This is necessitated in the view of fire safety. 
  • Staircase shall be approachable by each and every occupant without any obstruction and hindrance.