The restaurant industry in Gurgaon is looking at signs of revival as the Haryana government has eased Covid restrictions. While the lockdown in the state has been extended till June 14, restaurants and bars have been allowed to function with certain conditions.
With restaurant and bar owners facing heavy losses due to the lockdown, the return of customers will be a welcome step.
“Since it was the first day, there were minor hiccups in the implementation. But overall, we can say that restaurants and bars are co-operating and almost every establishment is following the rules. Police and administration are carrying out checks to their maximum capacity. Our effort is to ensure that visitors wear masks and social distancing is maintained. In case of any complaint, strict action will be taken,” said Gurgaon Deputy Commissioner Yash Garg.
As per the order, restaurants and bars in malls and standalone establishments can function between 10 am and 8 pm daily.
Restaurants will have to run with 50% capacity with adequate social distancing measures, sanitisers, and masks. The administration is carrying out surprise inspections and an FIR can be filed under the Epidemic Diseases Act in case of Covid protocol violations.
On the first day, restaurants saw less crowd as several still preferred deliveries and take away. Owners believe crowds are likely to normalise but a trend can only be observed after at least four weeks. Since most restaurants rely on crowds post working hours, the number of people turning up during the day will also be a factor to count in.
Many restaurants are also facing issues of staff shortage since many employees went back to their home towns in Haryana, UP and Bihar during the lockdown.
“It is a welcome move but this is just the beginning. At this point we cannot bank on a large crowd turning up in the afternoon during weekdays. We also have to come to an optimum level of inventory. Requisite staff is also required for normal operations to resume as well as adequate vaccination to ensure safety of employees. I believe in the next one month, we will be at a better position to review the response. We are hopeful that relaxations will draw people,” said Mayank Bhatt, brand head of the Social chain.
Owners also hope that the fear of stepping out will also come down in the days to come.
Zorawar Kalra, founder and director of Massive Restaurants, which includes brands such as Farzi Cafe, Pa Pa Ya and Bo Tai, said: “The hospitality industry is the second largest employer of human capital in India and, thus, by allowing restaurants to open, the sector will have a shot at revival. The onus is now on restaurants as well as patrons to serve and consume responsibly. The biggest hurdle will be to make people overcome their fear psychosis by ensuring that they feel safe. We will leave no stone unturned to ensure this. We are hopeful that the current restrictions are also eased in the coming weeks as cases reduce so that the industry can get back on its feet.”