NRAI has advised restaurants to shut operations till March 31 or until such time that no cases are reported for a few days.

COVID-19 Restaurant Association advises members across India to shut operations
Coronavirus Restaurants Wednesday, March 18, 2020 - 09:59

The National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) sent an advisory to all its members on Tuesday asking them to shut operations from March 18 to March 31, in view of the coronavirus and the health risk to employees and customers. They have advised restaurants to shut operations till March 31 or until such time that no cases are reported for a few days. 

“We find ourselves today in an unprecedented situation where we are compelled to make some difficult decisions which have massive financial implications on our businesses but we are doing this in the larger benefit for our teams, our guests and our communities,” the industry body said in a statement. 

However, NRAI has not taken a call on stopping deliveries and has said that restuarants can deliver food as long as they follow the current global practice of contact-less delivery. 

NRAI further added that many employees use public transportation to commute, and are at increased risk of contracting the virus, and becoming carriers of the same.

However, restaurants incur fixed operating costs — regardless of whether they are in operation or not, such as rent, taxes etc., which also makes temporarily halting operations a costly affair. 

For this, NRAI said that they wish to work with the landlords, government departments, financial institutions and to tide over and mitigate losses. “This is an extraordinary situation and beyond our control and we expect support such as converting fixed rentals to variable revenue share, allowing input tax credit on GST, moratorium on loan repayment, waiver of interest, reduction on energy costs, deferred payment of license fee and taxes will go a long way in curtailing our astronomical losses.” NRAI said. 

This comes as many companies have given employees to work from home, so that social distancing can be practiced — which can effectively curb the spread of coronavirus. While many institutions have temporarily shut their door, no such directions have been issued to the restaurant industry. However, anecdotal evidence shows that both footfalls and online orders have reduced.

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