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Monday, July 26, 2021

‘Spent a huge sum to get workers back…feel like this is a joke’

While restaurants are worried about incurring losses, bar and pub owners fear if their businesses would even survive as most of their patrons visit only in the evenings.

Pune |
Updated: June 27, 2021 7:50:04 am
PuneWith the number of cases receding in the last couple of weeks, the restaurants, with the hope of resuming business in full swing, had called their workers back and got them vaccinated paying from their own pockets. (Representational Image)

Written by Samriddhi Sakunia

Lockdown-like curbs imposed in April in the state had seen a spate of restaurant workers going back to their home towns to wait out the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic.

With the number of cases receding in the last couple of weeks, the restaurants, with the hope of resuming business in full swing, had called their workers back and got them vaccinated paying from their own pockets. But now, with guidelines allowing restaurants to open only till 4pm, the restaurant owners and managers are worried if all their efforts have come to naught.

“We spent a huge amount of money vaccinating our staff members and, now, the government has come up with new guidelines in just one night. I feel this is a joke,” says Daman Jeet Singh, the manager of Atmosphere 6, located in Viman Nagar.

The restaurant brought back its staff members after spending money on their transportation and vaccination in the hope of resuming full operations, he adds. “We were getting a good response as 170-200 people had started to visit us every day after we began to open up. But now, it’s hard to even imagine how many people would show up,” says Singh.

At the restaurant Urban Foundry, too, manager Kishore Shetty is disappointed at the frequent change in the guidelines. At another popular Pune hangout, 360 degree, which sees a footfall of more than 200 people daily, sharp dip in the numbers is being anticipated following the new guidelines.

“We aren’t expecting even 90 people to show up. I fear that every week, the government comes up with new rules. We called all our staff members back and do not want to send them away again,” says Saurabh Navgan, the manager of 360 degree. “We have no hope of getting any customers on weekdays because people don’t go out on weekdays,” he adds, alluding to the rule that allows restaurants to open only on weekdays.

While restaurants are worried about incurring losses, bar and pub owners fear if their businesses would even survive as most of their patrons visit only in the evenings.

“It is only past 6pm that we see people coming for dinner and drinks. We, being a restaurant famous for its drinks, don’t have any idea how we are going to function in future. We got the circular and are very uncertain about the future of the restaurant. After opening with 50% staff, we were getting a footfall of 100 people, and now won’t even see half of those people turning up,” says Pranam Shetty, a staffer at 1000 Oaks.

One question was common among all the managers that this paper spoke to: “What was the need for the new guidelines; is it because of the new Delta (plus) variant?”

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