Over six months since restaurants were closed due the lockdown, the Maharashtra government has decided to allow dine-in services to resume from the first week of October.
The decision was announced after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday, 28 September, held a meeting with the Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte, Excise Secretary Valsa Nair Singh along with hotel and restaurant associations from Pune, Mumbai, Aurangabad and Nagpur.
Restaurants have been shut in the state, which still has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country since March when the lockdown began. Since then, barring delivery and pick-up services, the eateries have kept their doors closed.
The state government has prepared guidelines to reopen restaurants as part of ‘Unlock 5.0’ and will share them with the stakeholders to finalise their decision.
Ganesh Shetty, President of Pune Restaurant and Hoteliers’ Association (PRAHA) told IE that the Chief Minister has “asked us to ensure that the standard operating procedure (SOP) required to be followed by the restaurants are strictly being adhered to and safety of the patrons is not compromised.”
Sherry Bhatia, President of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India, told NDTV that Thackeray has also agreed to consider their petition for a waiver of excise license fee for the six months that the restaurants had to be shut, and that the deadline for the first installment has been extended to 30 September.
According to The Times of India, the decision will benefit 60 lakh employees directly and also help the 1.8 crore workers who cultivate and supply the commodities that are consumed at these establishments in large numbers.
(With inputs from The Indian Express, NDTV and TOI.)
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