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Mumbai: Restaurant body seeks relaxation in operating hours for industry to survive



MUMBAI: National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) has requested Maharashtra-CM-Uddhav-Thackeray to consider relaxing restaurant operation hours in the wake of a constant decrease in Covid-19 numbers in the state.

Restaurateur and NRAI president, Anurag Katriar took to social media to request a positive roadmap for reopening of the beleaguered food and beverage sector of the state and termed present restrictions in Mumbai and across the state of Maharashtra as among the strictest across the country.

“It is absolutely imperative for our survival that these restrictions are relaxed. 50 percent capacity utilisation is fine but restricted hours don’t make much sense,” Katriar had posted.

Present guidelines state shutting of restaurants at 4 pm and do not allow them to open on weekends.

Restaurateurs say they have been reduced to mere lunch canteens making it impossible for them to survive.

A restaurateur said the majority of sales used to happen during dinner hours. He said reopening for mere 4 hours a day do not make business sense for most and as a result majority of outlets are closed.

Reacting to Katriar’s post, Vibhu Sharma, an F&B professional said longer operational hours would mean more people can dine through the day and be at safe distance all the time.

Some restaurateurs lamented there seem to be no restrictions on crowded local markets while restaurants that ensured social distance and hygiene protocols were being deprived of business.

With the state government expected to announce new guidelines this week, Katriar hoped restaurant timings will be relaxed while the majority of restaurateurs requested they should be allowed to stay open till at least 11 pm.

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