Fresh restrictions come as a jolt for hospitality industry

‘They have come just at a time when the business was on revival path’

Fresh restrictions imposed by the State government on conduct of business by restaurants and bakeries in view of the spread of Omicron and Delta variants of COVID-19 have jolted the hospitality industry which has been on the path of revival.

Restaurants and eateries were among the worst hit in the impact of two complete lockdowns in 2020 and 2021. Almost all restaurants in Tiruchi remained closed for about six months in 2020 and they could not operate fully for about three months in 2021. While a few of them operated with takeaway (parcel) service, others downed their shutters citing unviable business atmosphere. It forced the restauranteurs to lay off their employees.

After incurring huge losses for several months on account of monthly rent, electricity and maintenance, the restaurants, eateries and bakeries began to operate on a full scale from October. Just at a time when the business was looking up, the announcement on permitting only 50% of seats in restaurants and bakeries has put brakes on the recovery path.

In compliance of the government announcement, most of the leading and well-established restaurants in Chathiram Bus Stand, Central Bus Stand, Srirangam, Thillai Nagar and Woraiyur have altered their seating arrangements. Dining tables with four seats now have only two. Nearly 50% of chairs have been removed so as to comply with the stipulated space norms. The restaurant owners feel that this restriction will hit the business for sure.

“We have no other option but to follow all rules and regulations. We have been facing enormous pressure on various fronts since March 2020 due to several restrictions. We are yet to see normality in business. The new restrictions will only add pressure,” says K.R.V. Ganesan, promoter of Ashwin Sweets, that operates a chain of sweet, bakery and restaurants in Tiruchi.

A cross section of restaurant operators say the patronage of the public has already come down. Many are in a state of confusion on retaining the present workforce and the quantity of food to be prepared.

“In normal times, we can predict the sales volume and prepare the right quantity of food items. The travel restrictions and advisory will make it difficult to predict the business now. Those who make wrong calculations will suffer huge losses,” says a manager of another restaurant chain.

Source: Read Full Article