No revenue, how will we pay salaries: Hotel industry

Hina Rohtaki
coronavirus, coronavirus lockdown, india lockdown, chandigarh hotels, chandigarh bars, chandigarh restaurants, chandigarh hotel hit by lockdown, indian express news

Chandigarh has a chain of hotels, restaurants and microbreweries, especially in sectors 26,7, 35 and 43. All began wearing a deserted look after March 18. (Representational Photo)

CHANDIGARH’S BIGGEST industry — hotels, restaurants and bars — says that they are the worst sufferers in this time of corona crisis as the revenue generation is going to be cut 100 per cent. They wonder how they will pay salaries and other utility bills when there is no revenue generation. All the staff has been sent home in this time of uncertainty.

President of Chandigarh Hotel and Restaurant Association Arvinder Pal Singh said that even if the lockdown ends and hotels are reopened, people will stay away due to physical distancing.

“At least for next six months, there is no chance of earning even 20 per cent of what we were earning. People are not even attending cremations, what to talk of going to a hotel or a restaurant to eat out,” he said.

Chandigarh has a chain of hotels, restaurants and microbreweries, especially in sectors 26,7, 35 and 43. All began wearing a deserted look after March 18.

There were bookings in these months not just for marriage events but also for other conferences. All stand cancelled now.

All the staff that worked at these hotels and microbreweries has been sent home.

“The staff itself wanted to go home in this time of crisis. But how do we pay their salaries in the coming days when our own establishments are not making any earning? We got to pay electricity bills also and from where do we pay?” he added.

The situation started deteriorating after March 17 when the government started imposing restrictions to avoid spread of contagion. Around 10 events scheduled to take place at CITCO hotels were cancelled for March and April. There were no bookings for boarding and lodging as well.

Online campaign by businessmen

All businessmen across the country have begun an online campaign requesting that their plight too may be understood by the government.

A message circulated in this regard stated, “All businessmen are requested to send this message in your business & political contacts as maximum as possible. Dear PM & CM, you have declared a complete closure till April 14 and are requesting all to keep the offices, shops and factories closed.

Also, you are urging the businessmen to show sympathy towards the needful and needy employees and pay them. We would like to understand what are you thinking about the owners too?” the message stated.

The businessmen asked the government as to “how are you planning on supporting the business class from whom you are demanding this sacrifice? Because the closure has been announced and the businesses are on a total standstill. How will they survive? Salaries, electricity bills, bank interest, PF, ESIC, property tax — all are there.There is no relief for us. We don’t mind sitting home till April 30 if these expenses are cut off. The government needs to compromise and extend the support directly and immediately to all businesses”.

All the business establishments are recommending to the government that all commercial electricity bills be cut to half for the next three months. Also, that the companies be allowed to retain 50 per cent of GST payable for next 12 months and a waiver of interest payments for next six months. Also, that ALL EMIs to banks and NBFC to be put on hold for six months with no levy of interest on delayed payment.

They also sought that employee share of the PF should not to be paid by the companies but be borne by the government for a period of six months and at the same time employee share of the ESIC not to be paid by the companies but to be borne by the government for a period of six months. The businessmen are demanding that property tax for FY2020-21 be reduced to half for all commercial properties.

“The way you gave interest waiver to the farmers during drought situations, this is a drought time for we businessmen also,” the message stated.