Neighbourhood restaurants, star hotels and lodges are expected to reopen in phases within a week, after remaining closed for the last three months.
The state government is giving finishing touches to standard operating procedure and safety measures to be strictly adopted by the hotel and hospitality sector in the state.
The government hopes to shore up confidence of travellers, ensure the well-being of workforce and promote digital and contactless services after reopening of the hospitality sector, in general.
The tourism sector contributes 9.2% to the State gross domestic product. The government is also working on certain concessions, such as revision of excise fee, for revival of the hotel industry.
At the maiden virtual meeting on Sunday with the representative of the hotel and hospitality sector, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said the government is in favour of reopening but it will not happen in one go but in phases.
Thackeray discussed with the industry representatives the standard operating procedure, regulation, self-regulation, work force strength and health safety measures. he also asked the hotel industry not to retrench workers during the pandemic.
Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray, who was present at the meeting, in his tweet, said, ''The CM interacted with various associations of hotels and lodges. As Mission Begin Again is underway, each re-opening would be done carefully and health safety is the only consideration.’’ He further noted that ‘’We are truly grateful to this industry which has played an important role in Covid response since day one, by housing frontline warriors in many hotels and lodges.’’
Chief Secretary Sanjay Kumar told FPJ, ''Re-opening of 100% restaurants, hotels and lodges is not possible but it will be done in phases. Hotel and Tourism sectors play an important role in the state economy as they employ a large number of people. The objective is to focus on health and hygiene, especially during the coronavirus pandemic and also to restart the economy.’’
Hotels & Restaurant Association of Western India President Gurbaxish Kohli said the intake capacity of restaurants will be down due to social distancing. ''We have requested the government to allow us to serve the customers in adjoining open spaces which is not being allowed due to old laws. The government should also open bars and requested the CM to take it up with the Centre for its early reopening.’’
Vivek Nair, who represents the Leela Group of Hotels, sought the government’s support on issues relating to property tax, electricity bill and industrial tariff.