Pune: Restaurants, Bars Owners Face Manpower Crunch, Decide Not To Hike Any Rate For Services

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Mehab Qureshi

Pune, September 2, 2020: While the permission has been granted to reopen eateries in the city, many restaurateurs are struggling to reopen for business after migrant workers have returned to their hometown during the lockdown period, informed Ganesh Shetty, president of Pune Restaurant and Hoteliers Association (PRAHA).

Hoteliers were hit hardest by the lockdown, which was imposed to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19). “The state government has permitted hotels and restaurants to start and allow bars from Monday (October 5). However, hotel operators are facing key issues such as paying rent and paying salaries to workers”, he said.

Local workers demand at least Rs 700 to Rs 1000 per day, but the primary concern of the business remaining uncertain has been haunting many restaurant owners. “There are 850 members of the hotel business association, out of which 700 hotels are operating on leased space. The hotels will be reopened after the rent issue is settled with their respective landlords”, Shetty added.

Rajveer Arora, owner of Atmosphere 6 in Viman Nagar, said, “We have called at least 12 staff members by flight because train tickets weren’t available. We have decided not to hike any rates because of the ongoing pandemic. The only problem is timing. We urge the government to keep the restaurants open till 10 pm at least”.

The owner of the famous bar 360Degree – The Lounge located in Deccan, Ashish Goyal, said, “The taxes on liquor have been increased as well. No trains are available for the workers to return. Even if the workers are ready to come, commutation is the biggest issue”.

Another fear amongst the restaurant owners is whether people will try out dine-in services or not. “The question is how many customers will come even if the hotel is started. With 30 out of 90 employees currently in parcel service, starting a hotel will not be a problem”, said Shyam Mankar, owner of Durvankur Dining Hall.

“We will have to wait till October 15 to get a clear picture of the hotel business”, summed Shetty.

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