Industry insiders said about 30% restaurants in Mumbai and Maharashtra may open from Monday.
“Not many will open from October 5. Restaurants are still in the process of refurbishing, mobilizing staff. Those in malls are unlikely to open given the 7 pm restrictions. To operate at 33% capacity limit only for lunch may not make sense for people. We are told mall operators are in talks with the government to ease restrictions. If that happens, nothing like it,” said Anurag Katriar, president National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI).
Katriar, also the CEO of deGustibus Hospitality, which runs Indigo Deli and other brands is not opening any of his outlets from Monday.
Riyaaz Amlani,chief executive of Impresario Entertainment and Hospitality- which runs brands such as Social and Smokehouse Deli, is not opening any outlets in Mumbai and other parts of the state from Monday.
“The BMC has capped restrictions at 33% in Mumbai which is not viable at all. We are losing money at 50% and 33% is murder. It takes a lot of money to get the plane off the ground. Restaurants in malls are not allowed to open beyond 7 pm. Other protocols are fine but timings and the 33% capacity restrictions don’t make sense. We are waiting for more clarity,” he said.
Impresario has around 20 outlets across brands in Maharashtra.
“About 30% of our members may open from Monday. The rest are planning but due to labour staff shortages it will take a few more weeks. In Mumbai they have not given a time limit, but there are 7 pm restrictions in other places in Maharashtra. We are awaiting clarifications on timings. We can’t open restaurants if bars and restaurants are expected to shut at 7 pm. When we met the chief minister, we had said there should be no time restrictions,” said Shivanand Shetty, president, Indian Hotel & Restaurant Association (AHAR). AHAR has 8000 members in Mumbai.
Pradeep Shetty, senior VP, Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) said the association is estimating about 30% restaurants will reopen from Monday. “For high end, fine dining restaurants operating at 33% capacity may not be feasible. There is a problem of staffing. Mobilisation will take another 15 days. We think about 30% restaurants may shut down for good. It will be difficult for them to restart,” he added.
Besides the standard operating procedures issued for restaurants by the ministry of health and family welfare, FSSAI, and the ministry of tourism, some of the protocols mandated by Maharashtra tourism include taking consent for sharing customer details with administrative/health authorities for contact tracing where necessary, using separate entry exit points, avoiding raw or cold food like salads as far as possible, maintaining a daily log of all individual guests or of one customer from each group that voluntarily provide information for contact tracing for 30 days and maintaining a CCTV record of Covid protocols being followed.