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Restaurants and malls to feel the pinch as Delhi imposes weekend curfew

Tuesday, January 11, 2022, 11:05 Hrs  [IST]
HBI Staff | Hyderabad

According to Mint, amid yet another spike in Covid-19 cases, the Delhi government today imposed a stringent weekend lockdown in the Capital starting January 8. The fresh restrictions have come as a body blow to malls and restaurants in the city that saw good recovery in the last few months.


Restaurateurs are livid against the new order. Zorawar Kalra, founder of Massive Restaurants that runs chains like Farzi Cafe, Made In Punjab and Masala Library said the number one priority for the industry has always been the safety of its patrons and colleagues but he's unable to understand weekend lockdowns as they will have a very unsettling and deep socio-economic impact on the already beleaguered industry.  

The food and beverage industry is the second largest employer of human capital in India, he said. "Over the past two years there has already been a permanent closure of 30% of all restaurants and 25% permanent loss of employment. We are hopeful that the covid numbers come under control swiftly and that the hospitalisations remain very low so that these debilitating curbs can be lifted," said Kalra.

Kabir Suri, president of the National Restaurant Association of India said restaurants in Delhi are already operating on two restrictions, that of reduced seating capacity of 50% and also daily night curfew of 11pm.   
 
"One doesn't understand the scientific reasons behind having a daily night curfew and occupancy restrictions as well as now a weekend curfew. Basically, restaurant businesses are completely hit. This is not the best outcome  for anyone in the food and beverage sector.  We were just about getting out of 18 months lull with one good quarter of business. This new lockdown will impact business drastically," he said. 
 
 Deliveries however may get a boost as a result of curfews and lockdowns.  Yet they will not compensate for business loss in dine-ins, Suri said.

"There are about 95,187 eateries in Delhi between organised and unorganised. Out of this 32,777 are organised Restaurants (with FSSAI number and GST).  While unorganised will also take the brunt of these new guidelines, but the real brunt will come from the Organised Segment as they have a complete chain/employees, Govt taxes, Suppliers etc.  and Revenue generated per year from Organised Restaurants in Delhi is INR 31,132 crores. Also, dine-out frequency in Delhi is maximum, 6 times per month compared to national average of 4.5 times per month whereas takeaway/delivery is meagre. All of this is going to be standstill once again!

 

"We are also very worried about the fate of 3,01,715 people employed in Delhi Restaurants. We don’t want them to suffer but unfortunately, we don’t have adequate resources to support them for long.
Over 25% of Restaurants were shut last year and more than 24 Lakh People lost their jobs nationally. These new guidelines are going to be even further detrimental for the industry.
However, despite all the facts, it is very sad and disheartening to see that our Industry is the only sector which has been singled out every time. We are one of those sectors that always work in a safe closed environment with all the safety protocols in place but being asked to shut down while some other activities like Airlines, Public Transport, Markets, Gyms, Yoga Institutes, Construction Projects etc continue to function.
We need some urgent oxygen for our survival. I urge the Delhi 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,” he added.

 
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