KATHMANDU: Though the government recently decided to close hotels, restaurants and eateries due to a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases, some big hotels wielding political influence continue to remain open flouting the rule imposed to combat the spread of coronavirus.
“We had decided to allow reopening hotel and restaurants. But, now the government will allow them only to provide food take away services,” the government spokesperson Yuba Raj Khatiwada had said on Tuesday while making public the cabinet decisions.
Following the government’s ban reintroduced on Monday, the police also intensified its campaign to close hotels and restaurant that remained opened by ignoring the ban. On Thursday, the police even arrested some restaurant operators for defying the government order.
But, the police treatment and enforcement has not remained equal to all.
While the police have been cracking down on many hotels and restaurants, some big hotels have been spared. With their access to power, they have been running their operations including bar and restaurants.
They are not only opened without any control, but their guests and clients also include ministers, parliamentarians and police chiefs.
Vivanta Kathmandu, a luxury hotel owned by Chaudhary Group, is one among those hotels that is running unchecked.
The luxury hotel of industrialist Binod Chaudhary, also a member of parliament from Nepali Congress, is even operating its bar in 10th floor of the hotel building.
The hotel is not only defying the government order, but the management is acting in a way that it has a foolproof way to protect its customers and staff from coronavirus.
The hotel has enjoyed the immunity due to its high-level connection to political leaders, senior officials at the Ministry of Home Affairs and police officers.
Many big shots including police offers, political leaders hang out at the luxury hotel. On the other hand, small hotels and restaurants are an easy target.
However, SSP Tek Prasad Rai, the chief of the Metropolitan Police Circle Lalitpur, said that the police was committed to take action against those not following health safety protocols even in the gathering of VVIPs.
“The police will take action against those who violate Infectious Disease Act, 1964,” SSP Rai told Kathmandu Pati. “We are closely monitoring whether shopping malls and star hotels are in operation by following health protocols,” he added.