Hotels, restaurants urge govt to extend business time by 2 hours

The Hotel and Restaurants Association of Western India (HRAWI) has written to the state government appealing to extent timings for business operations.

As per the state government's order, the closing time for restaurants and hotels is 11:30 pm. Before the pandemic outbreak, dine-in services in the restaurants were allowed till 1:30 pm. The restaurants are not taking any order after 10:30 pm due to the current timing restrictions. Again, many customers have to return from outside, as restaurants aren't allowing dine-in service at full capacity, this is causing severe loss to the restaurant sector.

"An extension of two hours to the existing closing time of 11:30 pm, has the potential to generate anywhere between Rs 50 crore to Rs 75 crore per day," HRAWI said in a statement.

"Only a few days are left for the New Year and the hospitality industry is hoping to capitalise on this, which is why we have requested the government to allow us to operate as per our usual business hours," Sherry Bhatia, president of HRAWI, told FPJ.

Bhatia also said that closing restaurants by 11:30 pm has a downside as patrons mostly visit restaurants only after 8 pm. The HRAWI has indicated that not just restaurants, but if malls and other social places were to be allowed to operate for a couple of hours more, it could easily boost revenues of the state by at least 30 per cent. It has also pointed out that allowing restaurants to operate for the full hours will allow re-employment of the staff. The association has estimated that roughly 50,000 people across the state could be employed with this small change.

In the letter, the association has also appealed for allowing dining services at restaurants in full capacity.

"At present, diners have to be at the restaurant before 9:30 pm max to ensure they have a table, despite having the space and empty tables restaurants can’t accommodate them because of the 50 per cent limit on capacity, which is why we have appealed to the association to cooperate as it would largely help the association" stated Pradeep Shetty, senior vice president of the association.

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