Eateries, retailers and event organizers have bleak business prospects amid second COVID-19 wave
Eateries, retailers and event organizers across the country, after a painful nearly three-month long lockdown last year, are once again starring at bleak business prospects amid a second wave of COVID-19 infections.
Anil Makhija, COO – Live Entertainment & Venues, BookMyShow, described the second wave of the pandemic as a hiccup in the recovery cycle for the out-of-home entertainment sector and has changed the outlook for the industry in the country. He told Money Control that due to the rising cases of coronavirus and COVID-19 curbs, the on-ground event calendar has been severely impacted. “Several physical events have been cancelled with most of them now being hosted online to cater to the audiences’ entertainment needs while retaining a safe and secure experience.”
Makhija highlighted that after the lockdown restrictions were eased last year, the audience response for out-of-home entertainment experiences started on a positive note. “The pent-up demand for these events led to an average occupancy of 70% for an event with 50% capacity guidelines, as permitted by the government. The capacity of these events ranged between 200-1,000 attendees.” He said for BookMyShow, after hosting 6,400 virtual events, of which over 80% were ticketed events and more than 2,33,200 consumers had registered and bought tickets, the focus is back on virtual events.
Prathik Shetty, owner of The Reservoir restaurant, told TOI that with Bengaluru now the hotspot, there will be quite a bit of fear even when the lockdown ends. “Restaurants and bars were the last ones to open, in September, and just when things had started looking better, it is back to the same situation. It is the question of survival now.”
Sibi Venkataraju, owner of Toit, expects a similar cycle – three to four months of pain, with some hope of an upswing by the end of the year. “We lost money last year, and March and April were slowdowns as the number of cases started rising. January and February were at about 80% of pre-COVID levels. But it is a challenge to survive for two years with this impact,” he said.
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According to the report, restaurants across the country has seen sales pick up since opening before the festive season, and by December, footfalls were robust with weekends reporting near full capacity. The first three months of this year recorded more sales than the same period last year and takeaways and deliveries had slightly dipped as people became confident and went outdoors.
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