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Partial lockdown in Maha: ‘Only parcel services to cause major losses’


The state government’s decision to close down the hotels and restaurants from Monday night onwards and only allow parcel services will hit the sector badly, again leading to an exodus of migrant workers. Hoteliers say it would not be viable for them to survive on parcel services which account for only 5-15% of their total business.

The Indian Hotels and Restaurant Association (AHAR), a leading association for the restaurants, called it a regressive step. “We can’t survive on parcels or takeaways. The hotels which are on lease will not open their establishments as they will not be able to pay rents nor the salaries of their staff,” said Shivanand Shetty, president, AHAR. “The government needs to understand that many prefer dining experience and will not settle for parcels,” he added.

There are approximately 100,000 hotels and restaurants in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), with at least 18,00,000 employees. Of this, approximately 70% are migrants.

According to Pradeep Shetty, senior vice-president, Hotels and Restaurants Association Western India (HRAWI), the workers are bound to go back to their native states. “It will be a repeat of 2020 when lakhs of migrant workers will return in large number to their villages. We are in no position to house them and pay them regular salaries,” said Shetty. He condemned the closing down of the hotels as the last nail in the coffin. “Many hoteliers took loans to restart their businesses after seven months of lockdown last year. It will be impossible for them to repay,” he added.

Last year, the hotels which were closed for almost seven months opened on October 5. In the past five months, they were able to generate a business of almost 65-70 percent of the pre-Covid-19 times.

However, the night curfew which was imposed from March 27 where the hotels needed to close down their establishments by 8:00 pm reduced their business down to 20 % of the pre-Covid-19 levels.

The KOSMIC group of hotels which has four lounges across Mumbai said the staff will have to take a pay cut. “It makes more sense to close down completely than open for parcel service. I plan to give my staff 50% cut in their salary,” said Romi Chadha, owner of KOSMIC Group.

Savio D’sa who is the consultant for the hospitality sector condemned the decision. “The government is painting the hotels as spreaders of Covid-19. They need to understand that this sector generates huge employment and contributes substantially to the state exchequer,” said D’sa. “Those people planning to start restaurants will be dissuaded by this move.”


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