Uphill battle for hotels and restros in city

New Delhi: As the Delhi Disaster Management Authority on Friday formally ordered the reopening of hotels and restaurants in the city and the Delhi government a day earlier had allowed them to serve liquor, the hospitality and service industry in the Capital does not seem too enthusiastic about opening their businesses again.

While many have acknowledged that most of their revenues came from liquor, hoteliers and restauranteurs are now saying that the period of running their business without serving alcohol was almost as devastating as keeping it shut.

Expressing concern over the lack of menu options due to a ban on the sale of liquor, Jagdeesh Rawat, Manager at QBA Restaurant in Connaught Place, said the majority of the outlet's income comes from serving alcohol. "We have borne a loss of around Rs 90 lakh on an average and most of the customers demand liquor along with food but we can't breach government orders," Rawat added.

With customer footfall close to none, Rawat said sales had gone down to 20 per cent.

The Delhi government, on Thursday, ordered the excise department to permit hotels and restaurants to serve liquor for dine-in and in hotel rooms, subject to final approval for L-G Anil Baijal.

At Chatter House in Khan Market, the business, the cashier Rohit says, is at an abysmal low. "Around 65% of the sale comes from liquor and we receive

calls from customers asking when will we start serving alcohol," he said.

On the restaurant's future, he says that since the proposal hasn't been passed by

the L-G, one cannot be sure. "The work will surely pick up but we won't see the kind of footfall we used to".

Kunal, an employee at Townhall in Khan Market, says that birthday parties and anniversaries, something which their restaurant frequently hosted before, has now become a distant dream. "Even if a few people gather for a party, they demand liquor which 'even if we want to, cannot serve', he says.

Similarly, the city's hotels are not too happy either. With some of them being attached to nearby hospitals in a bid to augment the capacity of beds due to a rise in COVID- 19 cases, restarting operations seem to be an uphill task. "Our hotel didn't even serve any patients and was lying idle all through the pandemic," says Vani Wadhwa, PR Manager at The Suryaa Hotel, which had been linked with The Holy Family Hospital. "Despite the orders to resume business, activities like the swimming pool and spa will have to remain out of bounds while most of the staff will be wearing PPE kits," Wadhwa added.

Sidharth Misra, Manager at Hotel Jivitesh, which was attached to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, said that they have suffered a loss of around Rs 2.5 crores and went 'without a single penny for several months'.

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