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HRAWI Pleads To The Maha Govt. To Allow Re-Opening Of Restaurants & Bars

Tuesday, June 15, 2021, 17:30 Hrs  [IST]

In view of the State’s latest ‘Break The Chain’ order dated June 10, 2021 the Hospitality industry has expressed disappointment that despite Mumbai achieving a level 2 status, restaurants are still not allowed to be opened as usual. The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) has urged the Chief Minister, the Tourism Minister, the Municipal Commissioner, the Chief Secretary and the Principal Secretary, Tourism to reconsider its decision and allow the re-opening of restaurants and bars in the city. The Association has stated that the orders under ‘Break The Chain’ and subsequent orders by the local authorities may not bring in any certainty as to the definite time of reopening, timings of operations and other restrictions that may or may not be imposed. Under such uncertain circumstances, mobilizing operations of a hotel or restaurant property, recalling of employees who have yet again migrated due to the uncertain situation and restarting of operations will be an arduous task.

 

“A new parameter or condition being proposed now that requires the numbers to reach 200 positive cases per day or below. To meet this condition under the given circumstances will be very difficult since the vaccination of 50 per cent of the population might take some time. In fact, even after the end of the first wave such levels had not been achieved with regularity. Thus such a condition will bring added uncertainty to the already beleaguered and battered hotel and restaurant industry that is looking for survival. Also, there needs to be an element of certainty for the hotels and restaurants to restart and revive. For restaurant, extended operation timing will have to be considered as curtailed timings of 11:00 am or 4:00 pm do not compliment this business. It only adds to the losses being incurred by restaurants due to the lockdown. In the absence of any sector specific relief to our industry, there is a serious problem of mopping up cash for working capital, employee mobilization, maintenance of properties and payment of statutory charges which are being extracted from us mercilessly. Even banks have relegated the hospitality industry into the negative lending category list,” says Sherry Bhatia, President, HRAWI.

 

In Mumbai, the restaurant industry has been under a lockdown since March 2020 for roughly 15 months and was allowed to reopen briefly for a period of 4 to 5 months with several restrictions. Further, no relief in statutory charges has been provided to hotels and restaurants resulting in closure of almost 40 per cent of establishments in the State. The state has approximately 2,10,000 restaurants and 10,500 hotels. 

 

“Restaurants and hotels follow all SOPs prescribed by Union Ministry of Tourism, FSSAI, Ministry of Tourism, Maharashtra State, local Municipal and other regulatory bodies. Hotels and restaurants are in fact one of the safest, in terms of COVID19 protocols as compared to any other industries. It may be noted that there was no known case or data of spread from restaurants in their period of operation, making them one of the safest businesses to remain open even if operated in strict lockdown conditions. Under the circumstances, we request the Government to have due consideration and accordingly allow reopening of all restaurants in the city and save the livelihoods of the millions of owners and employees engaged in this trade,” concludes Pradeep Shetty, Sr Vice President, HRAWI.

 
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