“We have taken a decision of advising members to close all restaurants starting tomorrow across India because we are endangering a lot of employees. We will never be able to survive the guilt if a fatality occurs at our end,” the restaurant association president Anurag Katriar said.
NEW DELHI: The National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), which represents 500,000-plus restaurants across the country, has advised its restaurant members to shut down dine-in operations starting Wednesday across the country till March 31, following the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus.
This will impact operations of thousands of dine-in restaurants, pubs, bars and cafes across the country. “We have taken a decision of advising members to close all restaurants starting tomorrow across India because we are endangering a lot of employees. We will never be able to survive the guilt if a fatality occurs at our end,” the restaurant association president Anurag Katriar said.
NRAI said several city-specific chapters had reached a unanimous decision on this. Katriar however added that the decision to shut down would be voluntary and not mandatory. While some restaurant chains such as First Fiddle which operates Lord of the Drinks and Warehouse Cafe have decided to shut down all outlets starting Tuesday midnight, others such as The Wine Company and Lite Bite Foods said they will decide within a day’s time.
First Fiddle F&B managing director Priyank Sukhija said: “We can’t deny the fact that restaurants are places where social distancing can’t be practiced. These are times when we need to think about our staff and patrons more than our business. We will be back with a bang once the virus goes.”
Others such as The Wine Company and Whisky Samba promoter Ashish Kapoor said the decision to close down involved various stakeholders and the company was evaluating the consequences.
Rohit Aggarwal, co-promoter of Lite Bite Foods which runs Punjab Grill, Zambar and Asia 7 said: “All this has just happened and we will take a day’s time to decide.”
A notification released by the Delhi secretary, health and family welfare, Padmini Singla, issued late on March 16 said any gathering of social, cultural, political, academic and religious gatherings is restricted to a maximum of 50 persons till March 31, adding that the operations of all theatres, night clubs, weekly bazaars, gyms and spas in Delhi should be suspended till March 30.
Katriar had told ET on Monday that the industry needs to take some very immediate emergency decision to save the sector from complete ruin. NRAI had on Friday sought interim relief on rents, energy costs, overall credit limits and taxation.