Bengaluru

Night curfew leads to fear of another wave of job loss in hospitality sector

A view of a restaurant at R.T. Nagar in Bengaluru on Friday.   | Photo Credit: SUDHAKARA JAIN

The government’s decision to impose night curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. in the light of a spike in COVID-19 cases has not gone down well with the hotel industry, especially as restaurants, pubs, and other eateries are operating at 50% occupancy.

The main concern is the welfare of employees. According to Bruhat Bengaluru Hotels’ Association president P.C. Rao, last year, following the lockdown, over 1.25 lakh employees in the sector reportedly lost their jobs. Over the past few weeks, the industry has been urging the government to consider those employed in the hotel industry as frontline workers and cover them in the vaccination drive.

Chandrashekhar Hebbar, president of the Karnataka Pradesh Hotels and Restaurants’ Association, said the government’s decision will hurt bars, restaurants and pubs more than other categories in the hotel industry. “We are ready to adhere to the new rules. However, the employees of various establishments will be able to leave only by 11 p.m. The government should ensure that these employees are not harassed,” he said.

Hoteliers also questioned the rationale behind the decision and claimed it was ‘unscientific’. Mr. Rao claimed the move will impact many eateries, hotels, bars, pubs and restaurants, not to mention travellers to the city. He admitted that while most proprietors were adhering to COVID-19 protocols, a few are not following the rules. “The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) should issue warnings and notices, instead of closing down the establishments,” he said.

Govindraj Hegde, secretary, Federation of Wine Merchants’ Association, Karnataka, said, “We have to cooperate with the government since it is for just 10 days. However, police machinery should not use this as an excuse to harass licence holders,” he said, hoping that the night curfew will not be extended.

Karunakar Hegde, association vice president, said the peak business hours for many bars, pubs and restaurants were from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. “This will have a huge impact on business. We will have to stop admitting patrons from 8.30 p.m. – 9 p.m. if we have to close down operations at 10 p.m.,” he claimed.

Manu Chandra, who heads the Bengaluru chapter of National Restaurant Association of India, hoped the government would give some consideration for food deliveries and employees of various establishments. “As it is, given the situation following the outbreak of the pandemic last year, many establishments are on the brink of shutting down. We only hope that this doesn’t lead to another wave of unemployment in the industry,” he said.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 5:00:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/night-curfew-leads-to-fear-of-another-wave-of-job-loss-in-hospitality-sector/article34285546.ece

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