Maharashtra govt's unlocking order upsets hospitality industry, retailers happy – India Today

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With no relief given by the Maharashtra government in its unlocking order, the hospitality industry is unhappy with the new rules on easing of curbs in the state.
As the hospitality industry has suffered huge losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Pradeep Shetty, Senior Vice President, Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) said that the government’s decision on not giving major relief to the industry has shocked them.
“In the first wave of the pandemic, the industry was closed for 11 months and four months during the second wave. This communication from the government for the hospitality industry has come as a shock to us. There is no reason for imposing restrictions on restaurant timings. If it is going to continue, then the least the state government needs to do is waive the applicable statutory charges for restaurants,” Pradeep Shetty said.
READ: 11 districts in Maharashtra remain a concern, authorities asked to tighten Covid-19 curbs
He added that there are more than 25 districts in the state with a positivity rate of less than 1 per cent, while in Nagpur, it is less than 0.5 per cent. Despite this, the state government has imposed level 3 restrictions in these districts, he asserted.
Drawing comparisons from the neighbouring states, Pradeep Shetty stressed that the industry needed a roadmap for its functioning in order to make informed decisions as it was not receiving any help from the government.
“Most of Maharashtra’s neighbouring states have eased the lockdowns. Gujarat has allowed the commerce industry to remain open till 10 pm, permitted social gatherings of up to 400 people and has also offered financial relief to businesses. Kerala, too, has announced industry-specific relief, that is not collecting the statutory levies from its businesses apart from several relief measures to support its hospitality industry. Here, we neither have the permission to conduct business nor are we being compensated,” he remarked.
In its latest order released on Monday, the Maharashtra government allowed ease of restrictions in 25 districts of the state. In Mumbai, the hotels and restaurants are to remain open till 4 pm even on weekends. Earlier, they were allowed to operate till 4pm only on weekdays.
The restaurant industry has been demanding relaxation in operating hours, citing losses in crores and job losses owing to the closure during the pandemic.
On the other hand, the ease of restrictions has come as a major sigh of relief for the retailers. Now, non-essential shops can remain open till 10 pm.
Viren Shah, President, Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association (FRTWA) said that the development is one of the finest news that they have heard during the pandemic.
“From Tuesday, all non-essential shops can remain open in Mumbai till 10 pm. We thank the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) commissioner and the Disaster Management Committee. We ensured that our staff got fully vaccinated and shopkeepers will follow Covid appropriate behaviour to control the spread of the virus,” he said.

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