‘50% of eateries will not be able to resume; need government relief’Updated: Jul 01, 2020 00:02 IST
More than 50% of the city’s hotels and restaurants may be forced to close if they don’t get immediate relief from the government, according to the Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) and Indian Hotels and Restaurant Association (AHAR).
Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, president of HRAWI, described the industry as “unsustainable” because of shrinking demand combined with costs ranging from licensing fees to staff salaries and rent. “Our assessment is that 50% of the restaurants will be unable to open their establishments,” he said. HRAWI has demanded relief in terms of reduction in both property tax as well as electricity bills.
President of AHAR, Shivanand Shetty, agreed with Kohli’s assessment. “The current take-away business is hardly giving us any income. More than 80% of our staff are migrants and we cannot open if they don’t come back,” said Shetty.
On Monday, the state government announced that hoteliers pay 50% of the annual liquor licensing, which was raised from ₹6.93 lakh to to ₹7.96 lakh this year, by September-end and the remainder by the end of the year. “The government has always been lenient and hence, we decided to give more time to hoteliers,” said excise commissioner Kantilal Umap.
However, Shetty said the hike in licensing fees posed difficulties for establishments. “Our hoteliers are paying rents and salaries to staff during the lockdown. They cannot survive with additional expenses,” said Shetty, pointing out that the earnings of eateries would reduce once they open, because of distancing requirements.
Satish Nayak, who owns A Rama Nayak’s Udupi Srikrishna Boarding, said implementing distancing norms will cut down his earnings sharply. “We can serve 79 patrons at a time. With distancing norms, we will not be able to serve more than 25 at a time,” he said.