Home Business Indian Restau...

Indian Restaurant Industry Hit Hard by COVID-19

0
//
India restaurant
Restaurants will have to be extra careful with hygeine. Pixabay

BY PUJA GUPTA

Coronavirus has got the whole world on the back foot, and has brought the economy down on its knees. This is a breaking news in India.

Ever since the outbreak of the pandemic, almost every industry, if not all are bearing the brunt of it, and as is the case with the Indian restaurant industry. But more than just a monetary matter, we also have to look at it from a humanitarian point of view. The Indian restaurant industry employs more than 7 million people – most of whom come from marginal sections, who now have to fight for their survival and also bear the aftermath of the nationwide shutdown.

It’s already been two weeks since restaurants, bars, clubs etc have been completely shutdown as ordered by the various state governments. The closure of these commercial spaces has stopped their additional income, like service charges and tips that many benefited from, thanks to patrons.

India restaurant
Ever since the outbreak of the pandemic, almost every industry, if not all are bearing the brunt of it, and as is the case with the Indian restaurant industry. Pixabay

Unlike many other industries, there is no scope of ‘work from home’ for this sector and the shutdown has squeezed the cash flow which the industry is heavily dependent on, drawing a challenge for employers to manage salaries for their staff.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcement of an eight-point structural and regulatory relief package to mitigate the economic fallout of Covid-19 to help employers save money and pay their employees the March salaries. However, as the lockdown will continue into mid April, as per the Prime Minister’s declaration, some business owners are expecting it to be even extended further, and are hence worried as to how they will manage to pay April salaries as well.

Anurag Katriar, President of National Restaurant Association of India and Executive Director and CEO of deGustibus Hospitality, said,

“It is a matter of survival right now. I don’t know how many companies will survive after all this is over. I don’t know how we will be coping up. But I’m looking at it with a humane angle and not commercial. Most companies have made arrangements for paying salaries of March, but I don’t know how we’ll do April.”

The industry has already been facing the loss and deep fall down. It will need all the grit, resources, support and the right sentiment to stand back. Each restaurant/eatery will need to almost be relaunched as it were, if they survive the closure in the first place, said restaurateur Tarun Sibal. “It will be like a rehabilitation project,” he said.

The aftermath of the lockdown will see many people loose their jobs, and one can’t predict how much can be prevented or salvaged.

In this crisis situation, everyone is looking at the government with anxious eyes for some immediate relief steps. The FM’s decision to relax compliance norms for income-tax, goods and services tax (GST), customs, IBC, banking and commerce is a short-term breather. But more needs to be done in order to make sure that the kitchen fires in the households of these workers keep burning.

“The last three years have been very bumpy and have wiped out all reserves, so even the stronger groups have no capacity to fight the shutting down of all our restaurants and total drying up of all revenue,” said A.D. Singh, founder and Managing Director, Olive Group of Restaurants.

“Without support from different arms of the government and banks most restaurants will not be able to open again leading to the loss of untold numbers of jobs,” he added.

The Indian restaurant industry employs more than 7 million people – most of whom come from marginal sections, who now have to fight for their survival and also bear the aftermath of the nationwide shutdown. Pixabay

Ankit Gupta, co-founder, Burma Burma, and Arjun Raj Kher, brand head of Hitchki and Bayroute, share similar views.

Gupta said: “The longer the shutdown lasts, there will be bigger losses, closures and job cuts. It is definitely a crisis. It will take multiple players like the government, associated financial institutions and the industry itself coming together to get over the situation.”

Kher noted:

“Though these are testing times for the industry, it is secondary amidst the circumstances. However, we will definitely need the support from the government once everything is under control and we are ready to bounce back.”

Katriar, who had written to the FM seeking a relief package for the restaurant industry, suggested that the ESIC (Employees’ state Insurance Corporation of India) should pay certain income directly in the accounts of the people who are its member, and who he believes are the ones’ most impacted by the lockdown.

Also Read- Live in the Moment and Plan Your Future for a Stress-Free Mind: Study

He added: “Another thing that the government can do is to postpone every EMI — whether commercial or personal. I’m not saying this for credit cards, but EMIs for loans can be put on abeyance for a month. Because most people in India are paying EMIs — what I understood from my own company. Right now, with the limited cash flow, whatever they get from employers, it’s better that they use it sparingly for their basic needs of food, survival or medical emergency rather than paying their EMIs. That will help all the people across the board.” (IANS)

Next Story

Social Media: A Boon Amid Lockdown

Social media has proved itself a boon, be it dealing with a crisis or emergency and sometimes even saving a life

0
social media
Social media has proved its worth in these times. Pixabay

BY PUJA GUPTA

There have been several incidents when social media has proved itself a boon; be it dealing with a crisis or emergency and sometimes even saving a life. There are various groups and communities formed on different platforms that work as a support system of communities.

‘My Pincode’ is one such group on Facebook that was launched by the NGO Social Media Matters in April when the entire country was confined in their houses. It is about local groups on Facebook to virtually connect, communicate, collaborate and create a support system for each other in their respective pincode areas. These groups bring together users, community leaders, subject matter experts, resource points and organizations at a very hyper-local level to provide immediate support, relief, and share critical information.

Blood donation, ration supply, repair work, daily essential information, government advisories are the highlights of My Pincode as these demands top the charts across posts made by users. Partners like Sarvahitey, Akshay Patra Foundation, Blood Bank were fundamental in their roles to look into all the requests and take immediate action.

Shantanu Garg, who lives in West Delhi, posted on the group requesting for a blood donor on behalf of a friend. Within a few hours, moderators of the group who tagged all volunteers and other admins and started reaching out to other blood donor agencies were able to arrange the required amount of blood. There have also been other instances of such donor requests. Sajal Bhateja’s request for urgent requirement of blood on South Delhi Group was also addressed in two hours.

Social Media
There are various groups and communities formed on different platforms that work as a support system of communities. Pixabay

Other topics that are being discussed on the groups are:

Which is the nearest clinic I can visit?

Where can I get emergency help?

What does the situation look like right now on the roads?

What are the queues like at the shops?

How much longer will supplies last?

Are courier services working in the area?

Which are the nearest Government and Private Testing Centres?

Can I visit the police stations?

Are postal services working in the area?

How do I obtain a curfew pass?

What is the situation at the hospitals?

Are there any blood donor requests?

In an attempt to bring together communities from 170 hotspots of India across 17 states (as identified by the Central Government of India in April 15, 2020) and crowdsource help, open groups have been formed and are being managed by moderators and group admins, trained by the NGO. It will be further extended to 32 states and union territories.

Social media
Social media groups bring together users, community leaders, subject matter experts, resource points, and organizations at a very hyper-local level to provide immediate support. Pixabay

Each state has a moderator and several admins who have been moderating the discussions and letting users connect with each other for essential and verified information as to keep fake profiles/information away.

Also Read: Beat Summer Heat With these Coolers

Every day the lead moderators sift through all the groups to look for any inappropriate content that is posted/approved/queried. As soon as users post on the group, the network of admins gets activated and they look into the prime information or request made by the user. Once that is identified, the request is verified and then the network gets activated to resolve the request. (IANS)

Next Story

3 Live Coronaviruses Don’t Match COVID-19 in Wuhan Lab

Three strains of live coronaviruses in the Wuhan Institute of Virology don't match the virus that causes COVID-19

0
coronaviruses
None of the 3 live Coronaviruses in Wuhan lab matched the virus that causes COVID-19. Pixabay

There are three strains of live coronaviruses in the Wuhan Institute of Virology, but none matches the virus that causes COVID-19, according to the director of the institute.

In an interview to state broadcaster CGTN aired on Saturday night, Wang Yanyi said that any suggestion that the SARS-CoV-2 leaked from her institute is “pure fabrication”.

After the COVID-19 outbreak started in Wuhan late last year and eventually became a global pandemic, the biosafety laboratory in China’s Hubei province has been in the eye of a storm as conspiracy theories suggesting the virus could have leaked from the lab started gaining traction.

Those were later even picked by US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

However, Wang stressed that the “current consensus of the international academic community is that the virus originated from wild animals.”

She also underlined the need for global cooperation to find answers to questions such as where the viruses that are highly similar to SARS-CoV-2 are.

Coronaviruses
The world need to cooperate over this as there are many viruses that are highly similar to SARS-CoV-2. (Representational Image). Pixabay

“Now we have three strains of live viruses. One of them has the highest similarity, 96 per cent to the SARS virus. But their highest similarity to SARS-CoV-2 only reaches 79.8 per cent,” Wang told the broadcaster.

Also Read: Homecations: The New Way To Unwind This Summer Amid Lockdown

Over 5.3 million people in the world have so far tested positive for COVID-19 and more than 3,40,000 have died due to the pandemic, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Wang said that her institute first received the clinical sample of the unknown pneumonia on December 30 last year. Before that they did not know the virus even existed.

“After we checked the pathogen within the sample, we found it contained a new coronavirus, which is now called SARS-CoV-2. We didn’t have any knowledge before that, nor had we ever encountered, researched or kept the virus,” she said. (IANS)

Next Story

DMRC Uses Pictorial Messages to Spread Awareness on COVID-19

The campaign of pictorial awareness has been planned under the supervision of DMRC's Safety department

0
DMRC_Bombardier
DMRC spreads awareness among citizens about COVID-19 through pictorial messages. Wikimedia Commons

Amid lockdown 4.0 and halted service of the metro rail in the city, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) is engaged in spreading awareness about COVID-19 disease at its construction sites through pictorial messages, according to Covid-19 pandemic in India updates.

In a press statement, the DMRC said, “Along with all conventional methods to raise awareness about this pertinent issue, a number of pictorial awareness messages have been painted at DMRC’s sites so that the workers keep getting reminded about the precautions while at work.”

The campaign has been planned under the supervision of DMRC’s Safety department.

The DMRC asserted that all relevant government guidelines and advisories have been taken into consideration while planning the content. Easy language and pictorials have been used so that the messages are satisfactorily conveyed.

The DMRC said that getting the messages painted was a major challenge as most of the painters, who are generally engaged for such assignments, were unavailable during the ongoing lockdown. As an alternative mechanism, printed banners in flex were installed at a number of locations. “While the messages are largely bilingual, a lot of focus has been laid on the use of Hindi as a lot of workers are more proficient in reading Hindi,” said the DMRC.

coronavirus DMRC
Painters were unavailable for making such messages because of the lockdown, said DMRC. (Representational Image). Pixabay

At present, the corporation is carrying out construction at about five to six different sites in the city including work sites of Dhansa, Airport Express Line expansion work in Dwarka as well as sites/casting yards for Phase 4 projects.

Also Read: Cybercrime on Rise During Pandemic, Warns UN

It said that all guidelines set by the government agencies are being implemented while resuming works and contractors and workers are being sensitised about the precautionary guidelines at the beginning of work during the tool workshops.

“Displays with the necessary information regarding social distancing have been installed at the sites. Masks, sanitizers and thermal scanners have been made available at the sites as well. DMRC’s engineers are keeping a very close eye at the sites to ensure all norms are followed,” it said. (IANS)