Mumbai: Senior Congress leader and former Member of Parliament (MP) Sanjay Nirupam on Thursday participated in a silent protest held by restaurant and hotel owners at Oshiwara.
Nirupam lambasted the Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government for "ruining" the business of small-time traders including hotels and restaurants by imposing night curfew amid rising positive cases of Covid-19.
"The hotels and restaurants make business in night hours and by imposing curfew their business has been largely affected. Besides, the government instead of threatening to impose second lockdown should come up with fresh guidelines regarding how the situation can be controlled. Small-time are traders yet to recoup from the losses made in the previous lockdown and creating a fearful atmosphere again will further deteriorate the city's economic condition." Nirupama asserted that it is really very disheartening and unacceptable that state government is so insensitive towards these poor people.
When questioned that Congress in part of the MVA government, he replied, "We are urging the government to support small-time traders and do not impose lockdown but preventive measures should be taken to curb the rising cases of COVID-19"
Meanwhile, India’s apex Hospitality Association - Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) along with its regional Association representing Western India - Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) have written to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra Uddhav Thackeray requesting for urgent facilitative measures for the Hospitality sector in the form of waiver of statutory payments including excise license fees and property tax, among other along with relaxation of curfew timing for restaurants. The Associations have stated that actual business for a restaurant starts after 8 pm and a night curfew imposition from 8 pm is tantamount to closure of business. Due to the prevailing restrictions and WFH arrangements, restaurants have no significant business in the day.
In an official press release issued Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, Vice President, FHRAI said, "The impact of COVID-19 is all pervasive in our economy but its impact on the Hospitality industry has been extremely disruptive. The Hospitality sector is the biggest causality of the COVID-19 pandemic, the first one to fall and the last to recover. The industry had lost all its business after the lockdown came into effect. Under the present conditions, non-viability will lead to the closure of hotel and restaurant businesses in the state and massive job losses. Therefore, we request CM to kindly take into account these repercussions to the industry and relax the curfew timings for restaurants."
Reportedly, as Maharashtra continues to witness rise in Covid-19 cases the government has tightened restrictions to prevent the spread of the virus. Moreover, night curfew was declared starting from March 28th.