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. 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. Experience over the last two waves shows that the pandemic graph in fact continued to decline after restaurants were opened up for operations – albeit with attendant seating/timing restrictions. The industry has continued to operate at 50% capacity since then – despite other activities like public transportation/metros/airlines being permitted to operate at full capacity. It is evident that due to the above factors, the government has also decided to allow other activities like elections and related political rallies. In this regard, it is to inform that most State Governments are issuing orders by introducing curfews, local lockdowns and various restrictions on the industry. In addition, ad hoc/arbitrary actions taken by local authorities across all states in forcing closures and preventing food delivery is leading to severe business disruptions.
These points and others were sent in an appeal to the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India by National Restaurants Association of India (NRAI) in view of the sudden and random curfew cum lockdown restrictions which has been imposed across several states in India incl. Karnataka and Tamil Nadu notably. NRAI represents over 5 lakh eating joints, restaurants, pubs, bars and more from the F&B Industry in India which supposedly contribute over Rs. 4.20 lakh crores annually. The contents of the letter can be accessed here.
NRAI has also appealed to Mall developers to waive off rent and CAM – common area maintenance during the days the malls are shut for dine in, pure revenue share for the period when restricted operations are imposed, no minimum guarantee rent for three months thereafter and CAM @ 50% until restrictions are in place, in a letter signed by Mr. Kabir Suri, President of NRAI and Co-Founder of Azure Hospitality.