The latest on the coronavirus pandemic –

Teddy bears are seen at tables at a restaurant to maintain social distancing in New Delhi, India, on September 25.
Teddy bears are seen at tables at a restaurant to maintain social distancing in New Delhi, India, on September 25. Amal KS/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Deli is loosening regulations on restaurant opening hours and liquor licenses in an effort to help the industry recover from the financial impact of the pandemic.  

Restaurants in the city will now be allowed to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, contrary to pre-pandemic conditions when establishments would close at night.

Delhi chief minster Arvind Kejriwal announced several measures Wednesday to boost business after the easing of pandemic restrictions following a meeting with representatives of the National Restaurants Association of India.

“Delhi’s restaurants are the pride of Delhi and provide employment to lakhs (hundreds of thousands) of people. I have directed all the respective departments to remove unnecessary hassles in the smooth running of restaurants in Delhi,” Kejriwal said. 

Several licensing reforms were introduced, including removing several “archaic” rules pertaining to serving liquor in restaurants. Restaurants will be allowed to serve liquor in open areas without additional fees and licenses for all types of music will be permitted.

India announced a nationwide lockdown on March 24, forcing its 1.3 billion people indoors. On June 8, restaurants were allowed to reopen in Delhi amid an easing of restrictions. Delhi has reported 298,107 cases of coronavirus including 5,616 deaths, according to the Indian Ministry of Health.

Nationwide campaign: Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a campaign to promote Covid-19 appropriate behavior “in view of the upcoming festivals and winter season as well as the opening up of the economy,” a government news release issued Wednesday said. 

Social media posts, banners, wall paintings and electronic display boards will be put up in public spaces to convey the message to “wear (a) mask, follow physical distancing, maintain hand hygiene,” the release added. 

In total, India has recorded at least 6.8 million Covid-19 cases, including more than 105,000 deaths, according to Health Ministry data.