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Bars & Restaurants shut in Maharashtra as part of new measure to curb COVID cases

Monday, April 5, 2021, 10:00 Hrs  [IST]
HBI Staff | Hyderabad

“Night curfew will be put in place from 8pm to 7am. Only essential services will be permitted. Restaurants are permitted only for take away and parcel services. For offices, employees will have to work from home. Detailed SOP will be released soon,” said, Maharashtra Minister Aslam Shaikh. 

There will be a night curfew in Maharashtra from 8pm to 7am, says Maharashtra Cabinet Minister Nawab Malik. Also the state government has announced Weekend lockdown in Maharashtra every week from Friday 8pm.

Speaking about the beleaguered hospitality industry, Pradeep Shetty, Sr Vice President, Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India- HRAWI, said, "The Hospitality industry is with the Govt. We will once again support the Govt like we did last year. But, there will be no Hospitality industry if the Govt does not reciprocate. We are doomed this time around if we are expected to be both, shut for business and not receive any relief. The Govt has to meet us somewhere in between. Shut us but do justice to the owners, staff and their families. Take care of the salaries. Unburden the owners of the property tax, waive off the statutory fees, don't generate electricity and water bills until the industry becomes completely operational again. We understand that the Govt has to take measures but it's coming at a cost that we just can't bear anymore. We have always stood with the Govt and it's about time the Govt does the same for us." 

Anurag Katriar, President of NRAI, said, “As Maharashtra witnessed signs of a second surge and cases started to mount up significantly, NRAI, as a responsible Industry Body partnered with the Government in fighting the pandemic. We initiated a massive awareness drive in collaboration with the Government called #Responsible Dining in Mumbai. We did this because we consider ourselves as a partner to the Government in fighting this menace.
However, we are very saddened with the new guidelines for the Restaurant Industry which for all practical purposes shuts down the sector. To operate only with deliveries that too up to 8PM, makes no commercial sense at all. 

Right from the onset of COVID, our sector has been one of the worst-hit. We were the first ones to be shut and almost the last ones to restart during the first lockdown and I reckon that this lockdown is going to be even worse than last year.  We somehow survived so far, but with the new guidelines, it seems highly unlikely that we can sustain any longer. We were shut for most part of last year. We have been operating at 50% and restricted hours since then. We had just about started seeing some respectable surge in consumption which prompted us to hire back our people and now we are left in a lurch. These new guidelines, which prohibits dining completely and allows only deliveries till 8pm is meaningless and totally unsustainable. It is like an excruciating and painful slow death for an erstwhile vibrant industry. 

It is so sad and unfortunate that despite being the sector with an annual turnover of approximately INR 4 Lakh Crore, which means we contribute almost 2% of the Gross GDP, we still haven’t been considered for any relief package from the Government.  In fact, Maharashtra Government has asked us to pay the renewal fee for the liquor license for next year by 9th of this month in full and without any option for instalments. We are also very worried about the fate of 7.30 million employees in the F & B sector. We don’t want them to suffer but unfortunately, we don’t have adequate resources to support them for long. 

We are one of those sectors that work in a safe closed environment with all the safety protocols in place but being asked to shut down while some other activities like film shoots, construction activities, public transport etc continue to function. 

We need some urgent oxygen for our survival. I urge the Maharashtra Government to either allow us to operate normal hours with safeguards and protocols or compensate us, our employees, suppliers & landlords suitably for the loss of business arising out of the lockdown.” 

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