The hospitality industry has made a fresh appeal to the Maharashtra Government on Wednesday to allow restaurants to remain open daily from 7 am to 12.30 am including weekends. The industry has also requested the government to revise COVID-19 protocols to operate restaurants without restrictions in cities and districts with very low cases.
Restaurants falling under Level 2 or 1 be allowed to operate as per the timings permitted under respective licenses.
The hospitality industry’s appeal came days after a Virar-based hotelier committed suicide due to loss of livelihood.
The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) has expressed anguish against the unfair and unjustified imposition of restrictions on hotels and restaurants in the State. The Association has pleaded that they either be allowed to run their businesses as usual or if not, at least be offered reliefs and waivers by the Government to unburden them from statutory financial obligations.
“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, HRAWI.
On the other hand, the Association Senior Vice President Pradeep Shetty 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.
Shetty asserted that the Government needs to instill confidence amongst business owners and offer hope by allowing them to earn their livelihoods and to those who depend on them for their livelihoods.
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