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Maharashtra shuts malls, eateries till April 30, restaurateurs say body blow to industry

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in Maharashtra will remain closed throughout the day under the latest restrictions imposed by the Maharashtra government.

Essential services include hospitals, diagnostic centers, clinics, medical insurance offices, pharmacies, pharmaceutical companies, other medical and health services. Also included are groceries, vegetable shops, dairies, bakeries, confectionaries, and food shops.

A state government notification issued late Sunday said all shops except essential services would remain shut till the end of the month, leaving people only Monday to buy non-essential goods this month. Restaurants will be allowed to operate only takeaway and home delivery services during the day hours. All theatres, cinema halls, malls, gardens and playgrounds will remain closed. While night curfew will be imposed everyday from 8pm to 7am, gatherings of five or more persons will be prohibited during the daytime—7am to 8pm— on weekdays.

Under the guidelines, extra customers have to be kept waiting with adequate social distancing with markings wherever possible.

Essential shop owners and people working at all shops are required to get vaccinated at the earliest, as per the criteria of the central government. All shops have been advised to follow safety measures like interaction with customers through transparent glass or other material shields, electronic payment, etc, according to a CNBC report.

“Malls, restaurants and bars will remain closed, but takeaway service will remain in operation,” minister Nawab Malik said after a cabinet meeting. “Government and semi-government offices will run with 50% capacity while private offices will have to go for ‘work from home’.”

As per Aji Nair – COO – Mirah Hospitality, the Company that owns and operates Bayroute, Hitchki & Rajdhani chain of restaurants, “The was one of the most disastrous events of the century and the hospitality industry was the most affected industry during this period. However, an array of hope was seen since October and the business was gradually picking up across the country. While few brands touched almost 70% of the previous year’s sales figures almost all brands have crossed 50+ sales. The proposed night curfew will adversely affect the business and it will go down to the level of 20 – 25% of Same Store Sale Last Year as both Hitchki and Bayroute as a format was more concentrated on dinner business. The stringent restrictions on mall entries have already reduced the footfall in the mall drastically and thus the sales have come down to 0 level. Most of the business houses were just managing the operations with huge losses including the damages and the current curfews will add fuel to the ongoing crisis.”

Dharmesh Karmokar, Director – Luciferous Ventures (Thangabali, Light House Cafe, Esora), says, “This will not only cripple the currently struggling and dying hospitality industry but will permanently wipe out 60% of local restaurant companies. The ones that will survive will be the ones with deep pockets, and those are the ones who have been serving 3 months frozen ingredients and other unhealthy food. The local restaurants who serve freshly made food buying from our local farmers and vendors will all be crippled. It’s a domino effect which will go all the way back to the local farmer.”