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‘Unlock-1’ kicks in but most restaurants to take longer time to reopen



New Delhi, Jun 8 (IANS): Widely called ‘Unlock-1’, the first phase of the lifting of lockdown restrictions came into effect on Monday with almost every public and economic activity being allowed outside containment zones, but a majority of the restaurants did not open up.

According to the President of the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), Anurag Katriar, just about 10-20 per cent of the restaurants in the country would have resumed their dine-in services on Monday.

Speaking to IANS, he said that restaurants are awaiting fresh agreements with the landlords and malls. NRAI and the member restaurants have asked the property owners to waive the rent for the whole of lockdown period and do away with the minimum guarantee rents and instead, adopt a revenue sharing model.

“Most places (restaurants) in the country are not opening, some will open wherever the landlords have been more graceful or understanding… those places will open. Till things come on paper, there is no point starting it,” Katriar said.

He said that, the industry body has written to the malls, but so far not many of them have come up with a positive response. Katriar, who runs ‘deGustibus Hospitality’ said that he is hopeful that soon all malls would agree to the propositions or else the restaurants would not be able to resume their services, as they had no revenue for the last two months or even more, varying among states.

He said that during the lockdown period, the sector lost around Rs 80,000 crore and every passing day now, the industry is losing businesses worth over Rs 1,100 crore per day.

In Delhi, he noted that the state government on Sunday announced allowing restaurants to open from Monday, leaving no time for the restaurants to prepare for the resumption.

“It’s not that easy, it requires one to two weeks. You need to clean up the place, need to get the workers back, new hygiene norms have to be put in place,” he said.

Katriar also said that with a time limit of up to 8 p.m., 50 per cent capacity as the Centre’s guidelines suggest, would also pose challenges for the restaurants financially.

He informed that NRAI has offered its support to all the states to formulate their own standard operating procedures for reopening of restaurants with social distancing norms and enhanced hygiene measures.

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