In a good news for Mumbaikars, the Maharashtra government has allowed hotels and restaurants in the city to remain open till 10 pm. The decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday.
This comes after the Maharashtra COVID-19 Task Force headed by Dr Sanjay Oak on Monday said that it had no objections to extend the dine-in timings as demanded by hotels and restaurants.
Meanwhile, the hospitality industry thanked the Maharashtra government for easing curbs on hotels and restaurants.
"The hospitality industry thanks the Hon’ble Chief Minister – Shri Uddhav Thackeray, the Government authorities and the COVID-19 Task Force for easing the restrictions. Restaurants will now be able to make some business which was just impossible while operating until 4 pm. The industry, including owners and people employed in it, has suffered for over sixteen months of income deprivation," said Sherry Bhatia, President, Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI).
"We were hoping that since restaurants continue to operate at only 50 per cent capacity, the Government could have allowed us to remain open till midnight. However, the CM has kept his promise, and we welcome this move and expect more easing of restrictions shortly. Also, while restaurants are eager to invite their patrons back to their favourite restaurants, we also remain committed to serving them in the safest of environments. The industry assures the Government that it will continue to follow all the SOPs and COVID safety protocols stringently,” he added.
Earlier on Friday, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had said the government will soon take a decision regarding extending the timings of restaurants and hotels after reviewing the situation. He was speaking at a meeting with a delegation of representatives of the Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (AHAR) and the Hotel Owners Association.
The hospitality industry, had earlier, made an appeal to the Maharashtra Government to allow restaurants to remain open daily from 7 am to 12.30 am including weekends. The industry had also requested the government to revise COVID-19 protocols to operate restaurants without restrictions in cities and districts with very low cases.
The hospitality industry’s appeal had come days after a Virar-based hotelier committed suicide due to loss of livelihood.
“The industry is going through a very tough phase with no respite in sight. Hotel and restaurant owners are grappling with several issues including loss of business, payment of salaries, maintenance of the property, and the additional burden of rent, license fees, taxes, statutory fees, utility bills. This is leading to indescribable mental stress and is forcing entrepreneurs to take drastic steps. It is high time the Government wakes up and takes this issue seriously,” said Sherry Bhatia, President, Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI).
On the other hand, the Association Senior Vice President Pradeep Shetty had said the series of incidents involving hoteliers and restaurateurs ending their lives over business should act as a warning bell for the Government. ‘’The industry should be offered financial relief in terms of license fees and other statutory obligations for the losses suffered since the beginning of the pandemic. Also, restaurants should now be allowed to remain open daily from 7 am to 12:30 am including weekends,’’ he added.
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