Bengaluru: In what came as the first big stand against the government’s decision on lockdown 4.0, hoteliers in Karnataka said they will stop take away orders and food deliveries in order to protest the government’s lopsided stand on the lockdown restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus.
The Karnataka government on Monday came out with fresh guidelines on what will be allowed to function and what services continue to remain prohibited as the country heads into a far more relaxed lockdown phase till May 31.
While public transport is allowed, as are all kinds of shops except in containment zones, the government said it will still not open up hotels, restaurants and clubs for catering food to the public. Hotels may only be allowed to supply cooked food as takeaways or deliveries through online services like Swiggy and Zomato, it said.
The Karnataka Hotels association said they would refuse this service till May 31, as they have given multiple representations to the government about how they are prepared to abide by every condition set by the government on sanitising their premises and maintaining social distancing.
"There was lockdown 1, then 2 and then 3. We thought at least by lockdown 4, the government would allow us to operate. We are in a situation when even jewellery shops (as luxury purchases) can function. If public transport can operate and buses with 30 passengers can ply for 10 to 12 hours, why can’t our hotels which are as big as 2,000 to 4,000 sq feet not function?” said Madhukar Shetty, Secretary of the Karnataka Hotels Association.
Shetty said the association plans to meet Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa again on Tuesday to speak to him about the business losses, but takeaways — or 'parcel' as they are they called in Karnataka — bring hardly 5 to 10 per cent of their revenues and hence it is unviable to operate entirely with it.
"We have nothing against opening of jewellery shops. But the ones who cater to the hungry are not being allowed to operate. We all have workers who we feed and whose shelter we provide," said Shetty.
There are over 85,000 hoteliers in the state and all are waiting to reopen businesses. Offices, factories and shops will all start resuming business from Tuesday. As such, many of the workers would be potential customers for these restaurants.
"Why should we remain in this business? We will stop all our services and activities until the government understands and takes the right decision," he said.
He claimed that even customers are wondering if they take away any food, where are they supposed to sit and eat when they are in transit. The decision to keep hotels shut is unfair, he said.