COVID protocol: hotel, restaurant owners allege harassment

A day after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan warned of another wave of COVID-19 spread through gatherings in hotels, restaurants, and wayside eateries, the Kerala Hotel and Restaurant Association (KHRA) has said that its members are being harassed by some officials for no fault of their own citing violation of the protocol.

G. Jayapal, general secretary, KHRA, told The Hindu on Wednesday that sectoral magistrates and police officials were found to impose fine without considering the ground situation. “Recently, one of our members complained about police officials asking for fine for not wearing face masks from people who were in the course of having their food,” he claimed.

Mr. Jayapal also pointed out that steps had not been taken to create awareness among people. There were customers who still refuse to give their personal details such as mobile phone numbers.

Seating arrangement was another problem. “If we arrange only two chairs next to a table, some people drag one or more chairs next to it and sit there. Our members often are ambivalent about taking it up fearing loss of business. We have already suffered huge losses due to the pandemic,” Mr. Jayapal said.

It was during his press meet on Tuesday that Mr. Vijayan sought steps to avoid another wave of infection through people who frequent hotels, restaurants and roadside eateries in view of the lifting of restrictions. He cited the example of Europe and the United States where pubs and restaurants were the source of another round of COVID spread. Kerala had a high number of hotels and restaurants in proportion to its population, Mr. Vijayan said, adding that many experts were apprehensive of a similar situation here as well.

Mr. Jayapal said that though the association welcomed the government’s attempts to contain the infection, its members plight should also be given equal weight.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2021 10:39:11 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/covid-protocol-hotel-restaurant-owners-allege-harassment/article33177562.ece

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