As the temperatures are dipping, it is the perfect time to enjoy the breezy weather while dining in an al fresco setup. Our favourite spots like Khan Market had shut down open-air dining following the orders imposed 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 for both the restaurant industry and the consumers who love to eat out in the open. With the chilly winter season still a few days away, the current pleasant weather is bound to attract people for outdoor dining.
The official statement released on November 4, 2022, 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 done away with the requirement of procuring an additional fire safety certificate from the Delhi Fire Service if the open space is on the ground floor and if the open space is on the upper floors having an area of 90 square metres and already in possession of fire NOC. Additional fire NOC is required if the existing establishment has an area of less than 90 sq. meters but with the addition of open space, the total area goes over 90 sq. meters.
The policy has been levied uniformly for all restaurants in the southern, northern and eastern regions of the city.
Outdoor dining allowed in Delhi restaurants. Representative Image Credit - istock
While the new order is welcomed by the industry, there are some guidelines set by the authorities that should be met to avail of the license benefits. They are:
- No cooking or preparation of eatables shall be allowed in the open space, terrace, or part terrace.
- The act of drinking in the open space/terrace by the persons sitting therein 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 the 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, paan and bidi stalls, etc shall not be permitted.
- 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.
The statement also added that "Twenty-five per cent of the total area on the terrace adjacent to a staircase shall be kept vacant, this is necessitated in view of fire safety. Staircase shall be approachable by each and every occupant without any obstruction and hindrance."