Restaurant industry welcomes Maha govt’s move on eateries, but feels timings could have been extended further
Through a new order dated October 19, the state government stated that with immediate effect, all restaurants and eateries will be allowed to function till 12 am (midnight) as it feels that in the wake of the upcoming festival season, the restrictions on time of functioning for various establishments such as shops, restaurants and hotels will lead to more crowding in the shorter duration in which they are currently allowed to function.
“We welcome the move as things have normalised all over India. We hoped that the timings were extended further till the regular hours of 1:30 am. Businesses have been bleeding for a while and we were not just operating with time restrictions but also capacity restrictions,” said Riyaaz Amlani, chief executive of Impresario Entertainment and Hospitality that runs restaurant brands including Social, Saltwater Café, Slink & Bardot and Smokehouse Deli.
“We have been talking about how Mumbai can be a 24/7 city and we should move in that direction. We are hoping these new orders would be revised soon,” he added.
Priyank Sukhija, CEO of First Fiddle that runs brands such as Lord of the Drinks, Tamasha and Warehouse Café and has seven outlets in Mumbai, said everything is running at full capacity including the Mumbai locals.
“The restaurant industry has incurred heavy losses. While we welcome this extension, they could have restored the normal hours. In places such as Delhi, those with a license to operate 24/ 7 have also been allowed to do so,” he added.
Rahul Singh, CEO of The Beer Cafe said the industry had been eagerly waiting for Maharashtra to foster the revival of the sector and its jobs. “As a chain, we have witnessed recovery that is equal to pre pandemic levels or even more than the pre-Covid levels across India. However, the recovery in Maharashtra has been curtailed due to restrictive timings and other SOPs,” he added.
Pradeep Shetty, senior VP, Hotel & Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) said while the move will provide the much needed succor to the beleaguered hospitality industry, the association was hoping the extension was granted till the pre Covid deadline of 1:30 am and that the new orders should have been accompanied by the lifting of restrictions on banquets, weddings and events considering the upcoming wedding season.
“The current limit of hundred guests for weddings and social events is prohibitive and unviable under present circumstances. Hotels and restaurants conduct extensive Covid safe protocol training and our premises are among the safest. We are hopeful that the government will remove all restrictions and soon place as much importance on livelihood as on life,” he added.