Hotels & restaurants to reopen by the first week of October in Mumbai & other Maharashtra districts!

Establishments are permitted to function at 50% of their potential following the norms of social distancing

The Maharashtra Cabinet has permitted around 4 lakh hotels, bars, restaurants and eateries in the state, majorly set in Mumbai Metropolitan Region to resume functions at 50% of their capacity starting October. The decision is likely to affect around 60 lakh direct employees and 1.8 crore indirect employees involved in the hospitality sector, which has faced a major brunt of the almost 7-month long nationwide coronavirus lockdown and the consequent phased unlocking process.

The Unlock Relief

The state government has assured hospitality industry organisations and independent hoteliers and restauranteers that they can resume operations at 50% of their absolute potential in a meeting with the Chief Minister on Monday. The state has also emphasized on the establishment of a detailed standard operating procedure which will be drafted and finalised soon. Post the clearance of requisite permissions with the state, around 4 lakh establishments would be allowed to re-start operations from the first week of October, just ahead of the Navratri celebrations in Mumbai and other state districts.

This brings a wave of major relief to the entire hospitality sector that was struggling to operate at 40% capacity. Though many restaurant owners claim that 50% potential is also impractical to produce profits, owners have welcomed the relief as it will assist in paying their due overhead expenses over long business shut down, help increase the scope of employment which has been negligible for the last 7 months and also generate revenue for the Government. The state may also favour a concession or relief in the excise fee license for restaurants owing to the industry handicap in the last 6 months, as the CM has agreed to view the draft for the same with positive consideration.

The hospitality industry is a revenue-generating machine, especially with its excise and local license fees that rounds up to around ₹18000 crore in the state. The decision will impact the axillary industries associated with that of hospitality as well, producing a higher estimate of taxes and revenues.

Is this a solution?

Most hotels and restaurants are surviving at a diminished employee body along with serving potential; majorly operating through home deliveries. This lull and reduced labour force has been identified as a homogenous effect in the entire industry- be it small or large businesses. Most employees have returned to their native places and have refused to return till a specific and effective solution, that is a vaccine, is developed. The local staff that live in suburban regions are also facing commute issues as the local trains remain off the charts for them.

The hoteliers are now facing the issue of convincing their staff to return to work. This coupled with the government SOP that halves the serving potential, hotels and restaurants continue to remain in a state of acute trouble.

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