Kerala

Cheers again! as hotels and bars reopen

People dine inside a restaurant in Kochi after bars and restaurants reopened cautiously after a hiatus of six months on Sunday.  

Hotels, bars and restaurants are witness to a new lease of life with the government allowing them to reopen from Sunday. Though most of the establishments saw poor patronage on the first day, the owners are happy that there is now a chance to revive them.

Hotels and restaurants saw about 25-30% of their capacities being utilised on Sunday, the first day after the government announced the reopening.

Many workers have been laid off in different categories of the hotel and restaurant business, from the cleaning staff to chefs, said Biju Ramesh of Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He said that over the last nine months, there had been absolutely no activities in restaurants and bars that make up the backbone of the hospitality industry in the State.

This was now a great opportunity to rebuild an area of commercial activity, which has great employment potential, said Sunesh Bhasi, who runs a popular restaurant in Kochi.

However, Mr. Ramesh expressed apprehensions about the government permission to keep bars open only up to 9 p.m. He said that in normal times, the bars used to be open till 11 p.m., which was a factor that added to the business growth. He said that normally working people used bars till late in the evening and the restriction to close them by 9 p.m. was a dampener.

It is estimated that there are around 786 bars that serve drinks and nearly 350 beer and wine parlours across the State. Each of them employ dozens of people with different skills. These service outlets provide support to a vast population of employees and their families, he said. While the smaller units employ about 30 to 50 people, the larger ones employ up to 150 or 200, he added.

Azeez Moosa of Kerala Hotels and Restaurants' Association, while welcoming the move by the State government, said the step would be a great relief to the industry, especially those in the middle and lower groups, which had absolutely no business during the COVID 19 lockdown. There are around 50,000 restaurants across the State and about 30% of them closed business during the lockdown. He expressed the hope that the business would revive now.


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Printable version | Oct 21, 2021 2:22:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/cheers-again-as-hotels-and-bars-reopen/article36682103.ece

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