Lockdown curbs will force closure of 90 pc restaurants in Maharashtra: HRAWI

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New Delhi, Apr 6 (PTI) The new guidelines of the Maharashtra government to curb COVID-19 infections will force almost 90 per cent of restaurants to shut down and has spelled doom for the hospitality industry in the state, HRAWI said on Tuesday.

Maharashtra is witnessing a spike in COVID-19 cases, forcing authorities to impose restrictions from April 5.

The Hotel and Restaurant Association Western India (HRAWI) also urged the state government to compensate employees engaged in the industry and their families for the loss of income, and also support hoteliers and restaurateurs by waiving all statutory fees, taxes and utility bills.

'The new restrictions imposed by the Maharashtra government have spelled definite doom for the hospitality industry in the state. After having suffered unprecedented damage after last year's lockdown of over 8 months, the hospitality industry is staring at another year of similar or even worse consequences,' HRAWI said in a statement.

The new 'Break The Chain' guidelines introduced by the state will force almost 90 per cent of restaurants to shut down completely, it added.

'There is no way that the industry can survive another lockdown,' HRAWI President Sherry Bhatia said.

HRAWI Senior Vice President Pradeep Shetty said with the latest conditions laid down by the government, restaurants will choose to not open at all for the month.

'Restaurants are popular for dine-in services, for the ambience they offer and food delivery is only a supplementary service. To keep an establishment open just for deliveries is not at all viable. Under such a scenario, shutting down the business entirely is the only choice,' he added.

Sharing similar views, National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) President Anurag Katriar said on Monday: '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'.

Mumbai had reported the highest single day count of 11,163 coronavirus cases on Sunday. As on Monday, Mumbai's caseload stood at 4,62,302.

Alarmed by the huge rise in cases over the last few days, the state government announced a weekend lockdown and night curfew during the weekdays from April 5 to 30 in addition to a slew of other restrictions.

The weekend lockdown will start from 8 pm on Fridays and last till 7 am on Mondays. Besides, prohibitory orders will be in force during daytime on weekdays. PTI AKT ANU ANU