In the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, the restaurants and bars in Maharashtra have been closed down from six months, only takeaways and home deliveries were allowed. Meanwhile, on Monday, the state government permitted restaurants and bars to re-open from the first week of October. Initially, the restaurants and bars will re-open at 50 per cent capacity, with stringent health and hygiene norms, to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
Pune Restaurant and Hoteliers’ Association (PRAHA) has welcomed the state government's decision. Praful Chandawarkar, Managing Director of Chiranjeev Restaurants and committee member of PRAHA told Indian Express that they are now calling back their staff and the staff is also willing to come back as it is their only source of income. "We are going to be cautious as the pandemic is not over yet and it will not be over for the next two years, according to me. We can be cautious but can we can’t be shut for two years,” he added.
Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) Senior Vice-President Pradeep Shetty said, "Chief Minister (Uddhav Thackeray) was sympathetic towards the restaurant players for not being allowed to operate for over six months. He has indicated that his government will mostly allow the re-opening of restaurants but he has stressed on restaurants' responsibility towards their customers' health and safety after they reopen for business."
The Maharashtra government's announcement came with a view of the Centre's upcoming fresh set of guidelines under Unlock 5 plan to open the economy gradually amid the COVID-19 pandemic for October, according to an official statement.
Meanwhile, Pune city reported 779 new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, taking its COVID-19 count to 1,42,915 on Monday, a health official said. He said the death toll rose to 3,406 with 33 more patients succumbing to the infection in the western Maharashtra city.
Also, 1,105 patients were discharged from hospitals in the city following recovery from the infection, the official added.
(With input from agencies)