For the wedding industry in the national capital, it is the permission to reopen rather than the hope to make some profit that has shown a sliver of hope after three months of no business.
The Delhi government on Saturday allowed weddings at banquet, marriage halls and hotels with 50 people in attendance, and reopening of gyms and yoga centres at 50 per cent capacity under the phased unlock process initiated with an improvement in the city's COVID-19 situation.
The relaxations will come into force from 5 am on Monday.
Wedding planners and banquet hall owners welcomed the Delhi government's decision. They, however, said they do not hold any hopes for making profit this season.
"We are glad that we have been allowed to open at least. After paying the employees from our pockets and incurring losses, we will at least be able to make the ends meet," said Sunil Juneja of Precious Moments Banquets.
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He said earlier booked weddings that had postponed will be given priority now, while new bookings have also started to come in.
In the last one year since the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020, the wedding business was severely hit as episodic lockdowns in March-September last year and since April this year prevented any lavish marriages from taking place.
Wedding planner Jitesh Khanna of The Velvet Weddings noted that as Delhi maintained strict lockdown guidelines, disallowed weddings or any sort of congregation since April, most planned weddings were shifted out of the city.
"So now that 50 people are allowed, we are happy with the decision. And we are hoping soon 100 peple will be allowed. It is any day better than no business," Yadav said.
However, he added, it would be difficult to maintain the budget as a wedding for 50 requires just as much preparation as a wedding of 200.
Shrawan Yadav of Shubh Muhurt Luxury Wedding Planners echoed Khanna's thoughts and said that "they were not looking at making profits, as reopening the business was more important for now".
The one year of pandemic has not been favourable to the industry, said Mohsin Khan of Vivah Luxury Weddings, as he said several people postponed their weddings last November after revision of Covid guidelines.
"We had no business last year. This year too, the complete wedding season was lost due to the lockdown. Either people postponed their weddings or cancelled their booking altogether," Khan said.
Over 50 per cent of the bookings got cancelled this year, he added.
Khan, who has been in this line of profession for over 10 years now, said that he is not thinking about profits, but it is some relief that the business has reopened at least.
"Now coronavirus is part of our life. We have to run our lives around it, according to it. At least, we have been allowed to reopen, if everything goes right, we will have larger weddings soon," he added.
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