The hospitality sector in Maharashtra has expressed displeasure as there has been no major relief for hotels and restaurants in Mumbai, except that they can now be open till 4pm on all days for dinining-in, including weekends.
On Monday, the Maharashtra state government further eased lockdown restrictions for 25 districts, whereby shops and other establishments in Mumbai can be open till 10pm. However, hotels and restaurants have to be shut by 4pm through the week.
Pradeep Shetty, senior vice-president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI), said there is no reason for imposing restrictions on restaurant timings. If the restrictions are to continue, he suggested that the state government should at least waive off the applicable statutory charges for restaurants.
“Most of Maharashtra’s neighboring states have eased lockdown norms. Gujarat allows commercial establishments to remain open till 10pm and has permitted social gatherings of up to 400 people and has also offered financial relief to businesses,” Shetty said. “Kerala too, has announced industry specific reliefs and is not collecting the statutory levies from its businesses apart from several relief measures to support its hospitality industry. Here, we neither have the permission to conduct business, nor are we being compensated.” The HRAWI wants a clear roadmap about how the government plans to support the industry to accordingly make informed decisions for their businesses.
Meanwhile, the Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association has welcomed the easing of restrictions. Viren Shah, the association’s president, said they will ensure that their staff get fully vaccinated as soon as possible and COVID-appropriate behavior is followed by all the shopkeepers.
It has to be noted that there is no relief or ease for theatres, drama theatres and multiplexes and cinema halls. These will continue to remain closed till further orders. Film shootings have been allowed in Mumbai but in compliance with COVID norms and protocols. The BMC has allowed indoor and outdoor sports, except for swimming pools and other sporting activities which involve close contact.