Maharashtra: Hoteliers & traders urge govt, BMC to ease restrictions

Mumbai: Hospitality sector players and traders in separate representations to the Maharashtra government and BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Saturday have urged to relax the lockdown restrictions in Mumbai in the wake of dip in the positivity rate and oxygen bed occupancy.

Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) said restaurants in the city have been operating with level 3 restrictions whereas most cities in the State have been offered relaxations. The association has appealed to the government to be fair and to allow restaurants to operate as per permissible guidelines listed in the Level 1 unlock order.

‘’This overly cautious approach is resulting in extremely serious damage to businesses, especially to restaurants in Mumbai. In cities falling under Level 2 including Thane, Navi Mumbai and Pune, restaurants and bars are operating till 11pm even on weekends but only Mumbai remains an exception. Now Mumbai is in level 1 and it is extremely unfair to restaurants in the city to be not allowed to operate as per the permitted relaxations. The cure is turning out to be worse than the disease,” says Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, Vice President, FHRAI.

On the other hand, Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association (FRTWA) has sought Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s intervention and requested that the hotels and shops should be allowed to operate under Level 1 category in Mumbai as the business is diverted to neighbouring areas like Navi Mumbai and Thane. The Association president Viren Shah said, "Mumbai businesses are taken over by illegal hawkers who are doing business without following Covid-19 protocol. Similarly, e-commerce is enjoying at the cost of restrictions of timings imposed on shops.’’

Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India senior vice president Pradeep Shetty said since March 2020 restaurants in Mumbai have remained closed and were allowed to reopen briefly for a period of 4 to 5 months with several restrictions. ‘’Additionally, no relief has been granted to the industry with regards to the payment of statutory charges and fees. All these factors combined have led to financial losses resulting in the closure of almost 40 percent of restaurants and hotels in the State so far and several more are walking a tightrope,” he noted.

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