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Restaurant owners write to Delhi CM, LG for lifting of restrictions

Wednesday, January 26, 2022, 12:59 Hrs  [IST]

National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) has written to LG Anil Baijal, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and the Delhi chief secretary to reopen restaurants and remove seating and timing restrictions with immediate effect as Covid-19 cases and positivity rate have declined. The letter suggested permitting full operating hours, which would not only revive the beleaguered sector but also reduce overcrowding and prevent further job losses. It asserted that numerous studies and the government’s own announcements had indicated that patients suffering from the Omicron variant were far less likely to have severe effects of the disease and hospitalisation than those infected with the Delta variant. “There is a need to have a relook at the existing restrictions/curfews, and the same should not be based on the criteria/procedures set up to tackle the previous strains of the virus,” said NRAI, while citing the example of Mumbai where cases continued to decline without shutting down restaurants. NRAI stated that while activities like public transportation, Metro, airlines, etc were permitted to operate at full capacity at various times during the last two years, restaurants faced restrictions but still had to pay the full licence fees, rent and other overheads. “The old criteria set up for tackling previous strains of the virus should not be used for imposing fresh restrictions and Covid protocols should be enforced uniformly across all activities. This will help in driving consumption and lead to a faster economic recovery,” requested the letter signed by NRAI secretary general Prakul Kumar. Kabir Suri, NRAI president, said, “We need urgent oxygen for survival. I urge Delhi government to either allow us to operate normal hours with safeguards and protocols or compensate us, our employees, suppliers and landlords suitably for the loss of business arising out of the lockdown.”

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