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Bengaluru, May 19, 2020
Reeling under huge losses due to the 55-day lockdown, imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19, Karnataka hotels and eateries on Tuesday urged the state government to allow them to open for business and serve customers instead of just providing takeaway parcels or home delivery.
"We told Chief Minister B. S. Yediyurappa that we cannot afford to suffer further loss by doing parcel service, or deliver online orders, as it accounts for 5-10 per cent of our normal sales. We should be allowed to open our hotels and restaurants to serve customers," Karnataka Hotels Association president Madhukar Shetty told reporters here after their meeting.
Relaxing norms for the fourth lockdown till May 31, the state government allowed hotels and restaurants across the southern state to open kitchens for parcel service but not for dining to serve customers as it would draw customers in violation of social distancing.
"We also told the Chief Minister that when roadside eateries and street vendors are allowed to serve customers in the open, why not hotels and restaurants? Yediyurappa said he would write to the Centre for relaxing the norm for us to open for business," said Shetty outside Yeddiyurappa's home-office here.
Though the Chief Minister wanted the hotels to continue the parcel service till May 31, the association members said they would do for another three days and stop it as they cannot afford to suffer more losses.
Easing of guidelines, however, do not apply in containment zones across the state where COVID-19 cases continue to be high.
The Karnataka Pradesh Hotel and Restaurants Association had also petitioned the state government to allow them to open for business after the third phase of lockdown ended on May 17, with an assurance that they would observe social distancing in the dining area.
According to the association's estimates, Karnataka has about 7,000 hotels and restaurants with dine-in business across the state in the organized sector, with over 50 per cent of them in Bengaluru, Mysuru, Mangaluru and Hubli and employing a million people directly and indirectly, including migrant workers.