The Maharashtra government announced on July 6 that hotels and other accommodation providers must resume operations with 33% capacity outside containment areas from July 8. This order permits restaurants in hotels to also operate for resident guests with social distancing norms put into place. But it makes no mention of standalone restaurants, so they remain shut. While the centre indicated July 8 to be the target date for reopening the hospitality industry, top players warn that 50% of hotels might permanently shut down due to financial issues faced during the lockdown. A month ago, the Maharashtra government had launched ‘Mission Begin Again’ to open up the state in a staggered manner. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray urged hotels not to retrench employees even if there is a salary cut. He has also added that the reopening will take place by adhering to the guidelines of health and safety.
Hotels And Restaurants In Maharashtra To Reopen On July 8
The Maharashtra government had reimposed certain restrictions after extending the lockdown till July 31, 2020. As per reports, the authorities have proposed that hotels, lodges and guesthouses opening up in Maharashtra as part of Unlock 2.0 will operate only with 33% capacity. Also, the hotels in the restaurants can operate only for the guests. Swimming pools, children’s playgrounds and gaming spaces in the hotel premises will continue to remain closed.
There will be thermal screening facilities and pedal-operated hand sanitizing dispensers at the entry points. Some other measures like digital payments, QR coding and restricted entry to elevators will also be in place to ensure that there are safe distances among the guests. The guidelines issued by the Central Public Works Department of India ( CPWD) will be implemented for ventilation and air conditioning. It will be mandatory for all guests to wear masks and download the Aarogya setu app. They will also need to declare their travel histories at reception. The hotels will permit entry of only asymptomatic guests.
Hoteliers Express Displeasure On Operating Within 33% Capacity
Dilip Datwani is the former president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI). He expressed that 33% capacity for small hotels makes no sense. He reveals to news agencies “If a hotel has 19-20 keys, and you are asking him to operate 6 rooms, the economics do not work. 50% capacity would have been understandable. But there are staff and electricity costs. The order is not viable for smaller hotels.”
Similarly, Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, VP, Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) states he doesn’t understand the 33% capacity limit. He informs news agencies “People coming to a hotel are living within the confines of a room. You can’t get more socially distant than that. Probably this is phase one and within the next few weeks, they would increase the capacity. We also do not understand why restaurants have not been allowed to operate. If people require places to stay they would also require places to eat.”
Anurag Katriar, National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) President informs that based on the feedback of the domain experts if it isn’t safe to dine out now, then restaurants shall continue to remain closed. He adds”MHA had permitted the states to take a call so if they feel it is not safe, it is not safe. What can we do.” He also revealed to Curly Tales that if the lockdown continues then bars and nightclubs will be the most affected by the social distancing norms.
Hotels Turned Into COVID Care And Isolation Centres
Amid lockdown, several hotels in the country were turned into COVID care and quarantine centres. The Delhi government had asked more than thirteen hotels to convert themselves into dedicated facilities for COVID-19 positive patients. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation ( BMC) is also setting up a COVID care centre in Mumbai’s Mahalakshmi Race Course. This COVID care centre is going to have a capacity of around 1000 beds. Taj Hotel, Colaba and Taj Lands End, Bandra in Mumbai had opened doors to doctors and nurses on coronavirus duty.
Mumbaikars, if you’re bored of staying at home, you might book a stay at your nearby luxury hotel in a few days, either solo or with family. However, do adhere strictly to the norms of social distancing. After all, hygiene always comes as a priority. On that note, here are 5 places to visit in Maharashtra other than Mumbai: