Pune restaurants suffer huge loss, workers fearing lockdown plan on returning to hometown
Restaurants and cafes are asked to shut in Pune amid rising cases of coronavirus
Pune: To restirct the COVID-19 surge, a 12-hour night curfew from 6 pm to 6 am is already imposed in Pune district. The new restrictions issued on Friday also stated that all restaurants, cafes and bars will remain shut for one week. However, parcel and takeaway services will be allowed.
"Restaurants, cafes and bars will remain closed till one week. The situation will be reviewed again next Friday. Parcel service, online delivery will remain operational, Pune Divisional Commissioner Saurabh Rao had announced on Friday.
Restaurant industry is badly hit since the pandemic started. Multiple restaurants, cafes have closed their establishment due to heavy losses. Many have also reduced their workforce as they complain that they don't have funds to pay the staff.
"Now to protest against the government's decision to keep restaurants and hotels shut, many owners of the restos have decided to display a banner ‘# NO LOCKDOWN INJUSTICE TO HOTELIERS & CUSTOMERS’ at the entrances of their establishments," said Ganesh Shetty, President of Pune Restaurants & Hoteliers Associations (PRAHA).
"It's the same issue like last year. We are suffering a loss of over Rs five crore per day. There are about 8,000 food joints, restaurants in Pune. Many of the staff working in restaurants are returning home as they fear of the complete lockdown here."
Although Maharashtra government's latest curbs aimed at Break The Chain of COVID-19 infections stop short of a full lockdown, many workers stated that the measures are similar to last year's, and thus, would affect their wages.
Indeed, many workers working in restaurants in Pune said they are mulling returning hometown. Anticipating a lockdown, some also started leaving the city recently.
Some said they wanted to leave quickly as they feared that train services could be suspended from Maharashtra like last year.
"Last year, I reached my home in Rajasthan after huge struggle. This time, I don't want to be stuck in a same scenario. The resto owner told many of the staff members that there will be no further work as new restrictions have been imposed . I don't have work currently. It's better to leave before they stop the bus and trains again," said Dinesh Jaiswal, who is working in one of the restaurants in Pune.
" There is considerable amount of rise in the number of daily passengers travelling via different trains starting from Pune. Trains travelling to Lucknow, Jhelum, Patna are running at 100 per cent occupancy," said Manoj Jhawar, Pune Railway Division Spokesperson.
Pune, the epicentre of the contagion on Sunday reported over 12,000 fresh cases.
Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government has imposed new restrictions against the backdrop of rising infections in the state. The new rules state that there will be complete lockdown on weekends while night curfew will be imposed around the state.