Mumbai, (Maharashtra), August 05, 2021: AHAR (Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association), the apex body of the industry expressed strong displeasure on the guidelines issued by the Government on relaxing of restrictions for almost all outlets except restaurants. This is coming at a time when the hotel and restaurant industry is a precarious situation owing to the pandemic induced lockdown.
To convey the displeasure, AHAR wrote to the Chief Minister Shri. Uddhav Thackeray stating that operating till 4pm throughout the week including weekends have semblances of a lockdown. Adding other overheads like salaries, rent and input costs there is hardly any money earned. Contrary to this, roadside food vendors are doing business till midnight, which is in complete violation of Supreme Court’s order to not cook food in the open.
Upset with this discrimination, Mr. Shivanand Shetty, President, AHAR said, “We feel cheated after having regular meetings with the State Government and having followed all the SOPs the authorities have been imposing. Decisions pertaining to relaxation need to be taken keeping in mind the business model and after due consultation with the respective industry representatives. But, what we see is sheer discriminatory guidelines issued without any due diligence done because of which our image as an industry is tainted. The same is not the case with other states where guidelines have been relaxed and in some states even relief package announced for the industry. We hope the CM pays heed to our request and extend operation timings of restaurants to 11 pm at the earliest.”
Making an analogy between restaurant and air travel, the letter stated that an average transit duration is 1.50 hrs where people remove mask to enjoy their food in a fully occupied seating environment with pressurized cabins so why restaurants are singled out. There are no evidence to prove restaurants spread the virus too. Such relaxations are seen to be more biased towards food delivery aggregators who are doing good business.