Fresh lockdown in Mumbai to have disastrous effects on the hotel industry

The new guidelines imposed by the Maharashtra government with regards to the pandemic has worried industry experts who opine that the F&B industry will be disastrously impacted beyond repair this time around.

Fresh lockdown in Mumbai to have disastrous effects on the hotel industry

With the Maharashtra government announcing fresh restrictions to curb the instances of coronavirus, a night curfew will be set in place across the state from 8 PM to 7 AM with only essential services being permitted.

Meanwhile, strict lockdown will be imposed across the state on weekends from Friday night at 8 PM to Monday morning at 7 AM. This decision has been taken to get the number of cases down and break the chain of the virus. However, it has been termed as worrisome by several owners of the food and beverage industry, most of which had already been grappling with the aftereffects of the lockdown that was imposed last year in Mumbai.

Speaking about the same, Aji Nair - COO - Mirah Hospitality (The Company that owns and operates Bayroute, Hitchki & Rajdhani chain of restaurants), stated, “Pandemic was one of the most disastrous events of the century and the hospitality industry was the most affected industry during this period. However, an array of hope was seen since October and the business was gradually picking up across the country. While few brands touched almost 70 per cent of the previous year’s sales figures almost all brands have crossed 50+ sales. The proposed night curfew will adversely affect the business and it will go down to the level of 20 – 25 per cent of Same-Store Sale Last Year".

Not only will the footfalls get impacted by the time restrictions that have been announced by the government but restaurant owner in Mumbai feel that the stringent restrictions on mall entries have already reduced the footfall in the mall drastically. This may impact the business even further and lead to many business houses operating with huge losses including the lockdown damages and the current curfews will add fuel to the ongoing crisis.

Elucidating the disastrous impact on the hospitality sector, especially for hotels and hoteliers, Dharmesh Karmokar, Director - Luciferous Ventures (Thangabali, Light House Cafe, Esora), stated, “This will not only cripple the currently struggling and dying hospitality industry but will permanently wipe out 60 per cent of local restaurant companies. The ones that will survive will be the ones with deep pockets, and those are the ones who have been serving three months of frozen ingredients and other unhealthy food. The local restaurants that serve freshly made food buying from our local farmers and vendors will all be crippled. It’s a domino effect which will do all the way back to the local farmer.”

Shivanand Shetty, President, AHAR, too feels that the measures to fight the pandemic are turning out to be far more hard-hitting than the pandemic. Talking to Mumbai Live he said, "With this decision, as far as our industry is concerned, the State Government has driven the last nail into the coffin. The industry which generates employment and is the source of income to lakhs, cannot survive this time as we cannot pay staff salaries, license fees, meet operational expenses etc with mere home delivery and takeaways. We fail to understand why the hotel and restaurant industry is targeted every time when there is no empirical evidence to prove that corona is emanating from the above-mentioned places, or it is rampantly spreading only during the evening.”

Be that as it may, the current restrictions have been put in place till the end of this month. The government is hoping that it would help bring down the spread and enable in streamlining the beds in the hospitals. 

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