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Hyderabad: Hospitality sector on ventilator

Hospitality sector on ventilatorHospitality sector on ventilator
Highlights

The economy is in a bad shape. Thanks to the lockdown due to coronavirus, all trades and business establishments will now have to start life from scratch.

Hyderabad: The economy is in a bad shape. Thanks to the lockdown due to coronavirus, all trades and business establishments will now have to start life from scratch. One of the worst hit areas in the hospitality sector is Tourism sector. Tourism has lost one full season and threat of another dull season is staring in its face if people continue to stay indoors fearing Covid-19. Another related sector that is worst hit is that of hotels and restaurants. After about 60 days of shutdown, the Centre has now given its nod to the hotels to re-open but the hoteliers feel that it would take at least one year for normalcy to return.The biggest problem for the industry is to win the confidence of the people. Unlike in the past, families and friends would not be venturing out for dinners nor will they go in for holding of parties in hotels as maintaining social distance is mandatory now.

Hoteliers say that in some countries only two persons per table are allowed and a glass partition has been created between the two so that there would be in no direct contact. If a hotel has to host 100 guests, now they will have to reduce it to 50 and also provide enough place for those who would like to wait for their turn. Another major problem for the hoteliers is the availability of workers. Most of them so far were migrant workers. But now finding quality workers would be a problem. Not just that, ensuring that they are in good health and corona-free is another major issue.

G Sooraj, a restaurant owner from Secunderabad, said majority of the staff in the hotel belong to Odisha and all of them have left after the lockdown was extended. "We had 12 members working in the hotel, including cook, helper, servers and bhois. The skilled workers are mostly from the migrant community from Odisha," he said.

The businesses, which had not earned even a single rupee ever since lockdown was announced, will now have to spend money on procurement of thermal scanners, sanitisers and other disinfectants. Sanitising the tables and the area around after every guest vacates the table is another major problem. Another hurdle is that the employees would not come in large numbers even during weekends since they are getting only half of their salary.

Telangana State Hotels Association Hyderabad president G Ashok Reddy said that they were still not very clear on what guidelines they need to follow since the government had not come up with any protocols yet. Some restaurants which had the option of opening take-away counters also could not do so as they were not sure of the demand. People are still scared and hence the demand would be on the low side for at least a couple of months, he felt.

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