Kolkata, Oct 10 (PTI) Owners of fine dining restaurants in the city on Sunday welcomed the decision of the West Bengal government to allow them to function as per normal working hours.

The state government said in a notification that relaxations were being granted to restaurants, shops to be open as per "normal functioning hours" from October 10 to 20.

"We wholeheartedly welcome the decision. All eateries will function accordingly beyond the earlier stipulated time of 10:30 pm from today or tomorrow till October 20," President of Hotel and Restaurants Association of Eastern India, Sudesh Poddar told PTI.

Asked if the association will seek any clarity on the words normal functioning hours, Poddar said "the order is clear enough. The members will open their outlets as they used to in normal times for the 10 days.

The owner of Peter Cat and Mocambo on Park Street, Nitin Kothari said "we are thankful to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for granting our wish to allow us open our outlets beyond the 10:30 cap on festival days." "I will keep the doors of my eateries open till 12 midnight today (Sunday). From tomorrow it will be extended to 1 am," he added.

Due to easing of night curfew during the festival season and declaration of all puja pandals as no entry zones, owners of eateries on Friday urged the West Bengal Chief Secretary to extend the closing hour by another hour from 10:30 pm during the Durga Puja.

They had stated more people will be opting for dine out experiences on puja days this year as options for pandal hopping has lessened while a section of people want to celebrate the festivities out of the confines of their homes and they will be disappointed if eateries closed by 11 pm.

The night curfew from 11 pm to 5 am, as per COVID-19 restriction, has been withdrawn by the government in view of Durga Puja which begins on October 11.

The owner of 'Oudh 1590' restaurant chain Shiladitya Chowdhury told PTI, "We had requested the government if the deadline can be extended by some more time. We are delighted with the response."