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Industry Bodies welcome Maha Govt's decision to re-open eateries, bars from Oct 1st Week

Restaurants and bars in the state have been closed down for six months since the lockdown and only takeaways and home delivery were allowed.

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Hotel and restaurant bodies on Monday welcomed the Maharashtra government's decision to allow restaurants and bars to re-open from the first week of October.

Restaurants and bars in the state have been closed down for six months since the lockdown and only takeaways and home delivery were allowed.

'Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray was sympathetic towards the restaurant players for not being allowed to operate for over six months. He has indicated that his government will mostly allow the re-opening of restaurants but he has stressed on restaurants' responsibility towards their customers' health and safety after they reopen for business,' the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) Senior Vice-President Pradeep Shetty said in a statement.

A delegation of hotel and restaurant bodies on Monday met Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to discuss the way forward for the hotel and restaurants industry in the state.

'The chief minister assured us that restaurants will be allowed to re-open in the first week of October,' HRAWI President Sherry Bhatia said.

He added that the chief minister has also agreed to consider the industry association's petition for the waiver of excise licence fees for a period of six months, the duration for which establishments were required to be kept shut.

Also, the deadline for deferment of payments towards the first instalment of the excise licence fee has been extended to September 30, which is a big relief for the establishments, he added.

The Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (AHAR) said the announcement will bring in a huge relief to the industry that is reeling under a financial mess because of the lockdown.

The industry is the second-largest employment provider with 60 lakh direct employment and 2 crore indirect employment, AHAR President Shivanand Shetty said.

'We had estimated that 35-40 per cent of restaurants will close down due to this lockdown... While no new entrant is expected to come in for at least a year. Therefore, the government's support in waiving off licence fee and extending sops will help salvage at least 10 per cent of the damage caused so far,' Shetty added.

Bhatia said quite a few restaurants have open spaces and others have large interiors. 'We were of the opinion that the number of customers allowed in restaurants should not be fixed across all restaurants but it should be based on the size of each property.' He added that Thackeray has echoed our thoughts to allow guests to occupy tables based on the space of a restaurant's premise. 'We assure the government and our guests that we will take care of them like we would take care of our own families.' The Maharashtra government's announcement came with a view of the Centre's upcoming fresh set of guidelines under Unlock 5 plan to open the economy gradually amid the COVID-19 pandemic for October, according to an official statement.

However, the statement added that a decision about reopening restaurants will be taken once the standard operating procedures are finalised.


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