Mumbai’s New Unlock Parameters To Further Push Hotel Industry Into Uncertainty : HRAWI

-CB Edit Desk 

The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) has written a letter to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Uddhav Thackeray, stating that the new unlock parameters that are being contemplated for Mumbai will further push the hotel industry into uncertainty, as reported by India Today.

The association has demanded that they be given some certainty on when they could roll out the full-fledged revival plans. The letter to the Chief Minister said:

-If a further parameter is now being proposed of the cases to reach a level of detection of 200 positive cases per day, such a condition under the given circumstances will be very difficult to achieve as long as the vaccination cover for 50% of the population is not being administered. In fact, even after the end of the first wave, such levels had not been achieved with regularity. Thus, such a condition will bring added uncertainty to the already beleaguered and battered hotel and restaurant industry that is looking for survival.

-There needs to be an element of certainty for the hotel and restaurant business to restart and revive. The orders under Break The Chain and the subsequent orders by the local authorities may not bring in any certainty as to the definite time of reopening, timings of operations and other restrictions that may or may not be imposed. Under such uncertain circumstances, mobilizing operations of a hotel or restaurant property, recalling of employees who have yet again migrated due to the uncertain situation and restarting of operations will be an arduous task.

-For businesses as peculiar as restaurants, extended operation timing will have to be considered as curtailed timing of 11:00 am or 4:00 pm does not compliment this business and in fact adds further to the losses being incurred by the said restaurants caused due to lockdown/closure.

-The restaurant industry has now been closed in the city of Mumbai since March 2020 for about a period of 15 months and was allowed to reopen only for a period of four to five months with great restrictions. Further, there has been no relief in statutory charges payable by hotels/restaurants, which has resulted in closure of almost 40% of restaurants and restaurants in the state.

“In the absence of any sector-specific relief to our industry, there is a serious problem of mopping up cash for working capital, employee mobilization, maintenance of properties and payment of statutory charges which are being extracted from us mercilessly. Even banks have relegated the hospitality industry into the negative lending category list,” said Sherry Bhatia, President, HRAWI.

In Mumbai, the restaurant industry has been under lockdown since March 2020 for roughly 15 months. It was allowed to reopen for a period of four to five months with restrictions. The association says that no relief in statutory charges has been provided to hotels and restaurants, resulting in closure of almost 40 per cent of establishments in the state. Maharashtra has approximately 2,10,000 restaurants and 10,500 hotels.

“Restaurants and hotels follow all SOPs prescribed by Union Ministry of Tourism, FSSAI, Ministry of Tourism, Maharashtra State, local Municipal and other regulatory bodies. Hotels and restaurants are in fact one of the safest, in terms of COVID19 protocols as compared to any other industries. It may be noted that there was no known case or data of spread from restaurants in their period of operation, making them one of the safest businesses to remain open even if operated in strict lockdown conditions. Under the circumstances, we request the Government to have due consideration and accordingly allow reopening of all restaurants in the city and save the livelihoods of the millions of owners and employees engaged in this trade,” said Pradeep Shetty, Sr Vice President, HRAWI.

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