Kozhikode

Hoteliers, merchants oppose restrictions

As the State government and district administration begin to re-enforce the restrictions in the backdrop of the rising COVID-19 cases, merchant bodies in Kozhikode have started protesting against some which would adversely affect their sales during the festival season.

The State committee of the Kerala Hotel and Restaurants’ Association (KHRA) and the Calicut Chamber of Commerce and Industry have alleged that the lack of adherence to restrictions during the election campaigns by political leaders had led to the crisis situation in the State and the common people and the merchants were suffering the consequences.

The KHRA has taken offence over the order to close restaurants by 9 p.m, as well as the one to fill only up to 50% of the seating capacity. Pointing out the poor business due to COVID, the association’s president Moideen Kutty Haji and general secretary G. Jayapal said that closing the restaurants by 9 p.m. would lead to the downfall of the sector.

The business in restaurants would be lost by 60% during the day due to the Ramadan fasting. They could survive only if they could function at night. The restaurants should be allowed to function till 11 p.m. By following the precautions, they said. Besides, small restaurants with less than 20 seats would be hit by the 50% occupancy rule, they said.

“It is strange. People travel in buses without any social distancing. What is the use if they follow the rules only while eating?”, they questioned.

The direction to offer food parcels to guests at weddings was also opposed on ground that it would be an insult to guests.

The Calicut Chamber of Commerce and Industry objected to restrictions being imposed on merchants alone. “The government should make arrangements for the public to go ahead with normal life by following the protocol, instead of imposing restrictions”, chamber president Zubair Kolakkadan said in a press release. “Be it the beach or mall or movie halls, there should be security personnel to make sure that people follow the protocol”, he said.

Street vendors and families too were adversely affected by the restrictions. They had been living in utter poverty for the past one year. “For a year, we did not even attend the funerals of our dear ones. Most merchants have been in a financial crisis over this one year. Restrictions that are not applicable for politicians are being imposed on merchants. It will only result in further disaster,” a meeting of the chamber on Tuesday said.

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Printable version | May 19, 2021 8:49:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/hoteliers-merchants-oppose-restrictions/article34313870.ece

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