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As the voice of the Indian restaurant industry, we represent the interests of 500000+ restaurants & an industry valued @ USD 4 billion. Whether a chain or independent restaurant, the NRAI is here to help every step of the way. Join us!


NRAI seeks PM’s intervention for uniform enforcement of COVID protocols, longer operating hours for restaurants



The National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) on Thursday sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention for uniform enforcement of COVID-19 protocols across all activities and making states permit longer operating hours for the industry, saying it is now facing a “challenge of mere survival”.

In a letter to the prime minister seeking immediate relief for the restaurant industry, NRAI also asked for suitable directions to be passed to states to consider hospitalisation data to determine the imposition of further restrictions and permit delivery of food from restaurants as part of essential services.

While stating that healthcare of people and preventing spread of the virus should be the top priority of the government, NRAI said, “In doing so, however, the restaurant industry seems to have been singled out to be on the receiving end of the most stringent restrictions as compared to all other sectors/activities.”

After the second wave of the pandemic, the restaurant industry has continued to operate at 50 per cent capacity despite other activities like public transportation, metros, and airlines being permitted to operate at full capacity, it added.

“Numerous studies, and even government’s announcements have indicated that the patients in the current omicron-dominated wave of the virus are far less likely to have severe disease and hospitalisation than patients during the delta-dominated wave,” it said.

There is a need, therefore, to have a relook at the latest round of restrictions/curfews, and the same should not be based on the criteria/ procedures set up to tackle the previous strains of the virus, NRAI added.

“It is evident that due to the above factors, the government has also decided to allow other activities like elections and related political rallies,” the industry body, claiming to represent over 5 lakh restaurants across India, said.

Pointing out that most state governments are issuing orders by introducing curfews, local lockdowns and various restrictions on the industry, NRAI urged the prime minister to pass suitable directions to the states “to consider hospitalisation data to determine imposition of further restrictions”.

Also, it said the industry must be permitted longer operating hours since “it will reduce overcrowding, and also prevent further job losses for millions of workers”.

NRAI also requested the prime minister to “issue directions to all States to permit delivery of food from restaurants as part of essential services, as has already been clarified by MHA vide its SOP for maintaining supply of essential goods dated 26th March 2020.”

Further, the association asked Modi to consider enforcement of COVID protocols “uniformly across all activities”.

“In this regard, we would like to reiterate that the organised segment of the industry is committed to following all protocols/SOPs and will support the government in enforcing the same,” the letter said.

Drawing Modi’s attention to the plight of the industry, NRAI said,”While we all sincerely hope for a quick normalisation of the situation, we would like to state that the food service industry, already battling through tough times for the past couple of years, is now facing a challenge of mere survival.”

More than 25 per cent of the industry has shut down permanently, leading to loss of jobs for 25 lakh workers, it added.

NRAI said ad hoc and arbitrary actions taken by local authorities across all states in forcing closures and preventing food delivery are leading to severe business disruptions.

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