Tamil Nadu

Restaurants see dip in business

Double whammy: Rising fuel prices and COVID-19 curbs may push hotel industry into crisis.   | Photo Credit: LAKSHMI NARAYANAN E

With the State government allowing only 50% occupancy in restaurants and cinemas and imposing restrictions in malls from Saturday, the weekend plans of many came to a naught.

Many restaurants saw a reduction in footfalls. “The news of the second wave of COVID-19 has pushed down sales by 35%. As an industry, we are in fear because these fluctuations in business are not good for the sector,” said K.T. Srinivasa Raja, managing director, Adyar Ananda Bhavan. The number of families visiting eateries, too, had come down. The only silver lining was that there had been no impact on orders received through delivery apps, he said.

Selvakumar of Anna Nagar said with a rising number of COVID-19 infections, his family did not feel safe going to a restaurant and decided to order in this weekend.

M. Ravi, president, Chennai Hotels Association, said that business was dull on Saturday until evening after the standard operating procedures (SOP) came into effect.

He said that if business continued to be dull, some hotels would have to be closed. “If gas and oil prices go up and sales goes down, how will we pay our employees?” he asked. Other hoteliers, too, echoed the same sentiment and some asked many of their staff to go home and check in after a month. On Saturday, most hotels put up notices that only 50% of the seats could be occupied at a time.

Many malls cancelled events lined up for the Tamil New Year to avoid crowding. The frequency of sanitation at high-contact points has been increased and visitors’ bags were subjected to UV sanitisation.

Steps were taken to ensure that everyone was wearing a mask, trial rooms were being sanitised regularly and also clothes after each try-on. Air quality was being continuously monitored in many malls.

Pooja Patti, centre director, Phoenix MarketCity and Palladium Chennai, said providing a safe and hygienic ecosystem while offering seamless and enjoyable shopping experience was their priority. “We are adopting stringent quality measures to maintain a high level of safety by ensuring strict adherence to all safety precautions and guidelines,” she said.

Cinemas hit hard

Cinemas ran to 50% occupancy with alternate seating. Industry insiders said many tickets for Dhanush-starrer Karnan that had been sold for the weekend were cancelled and rescheduled after the State government’s announcement. The shows were earlier sold out.

Some cinemas called up patrons who had booked tickets and intimated them about the cancellations.

A owner of a single-screen cinema near the city said that they had been reeling under a cash crunch and the release of Vijay’s Master brought them some relief. “But this one came as a blow. We are now worried if this continues, more producers will opt for OTT releases. The government can at least allow more shows so that we can compensate for the loss in bookings,” he said. Their association had represented to the Governor for some relief, he added.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 7:15:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/restaurants-see-dip-in-business/article34292377.ece

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