Delhi’s restaurant industry hit by new curbs: “Unable to get electronic passes, food delivery affected”

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The restaurant industry is once again struggling with restrictions imposed in the nation’s capital due to a surge in Covid cases fueled by the omicron variant. Several owners have pointed out that electronic passes are a barrier to food delivery.

The National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) on Friday tagged the Chief Minister’s office in a tweet and asked for help in resolving the issue of the e-pass for the food and beverage industry. “We don’t get them, which results in severe harassment. We will also be obliged to stop delivery if this is not resolved immediately.

CM Arvind Kejriwal responded, saying to send him their contact details (to resolve the issue.)

While the Delhi Disaster Management Authority issued the “yellow” alert as part of the Covid graduated response plan on December 29, under which restaurants could operate at 50% capacity between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m., a – Weekend fire was declared last week as cases continued to rise. Under this, on-site meals are not allowed, but restaurants can make food deliveries and employees must use electronic passes.

Anurag Katriar, director and founder of Indigo Hospitality, said the restaurant industry is overregulated, resulting in further losses for businesses. “If the curfew were imposed, people would need food delivered to their homes. For this to happen, staff must be able to exit. Restaurants are already in crisis and there is no need to add an extra burden to them to deal with bureaucratic hassles, ”he said.

The association’s general secretary, Prakul Kumar, stressed that the industry has been among the most affected due to Covid, with more than 25% of restaurants closing their doors since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020. “The” industry employed more than seven million people; now 25 lakh jobs have been lost, ”he said.

Kumar also asked why restaurants have restrictions, when buses and the metro are running at 100% capacity: “The food industry is already identified as an essential service, allowed during curfews. But restaurant workers faced problems getting electronic passes… The majority of requests were turned down. We want the documents needed to obtain an e-pass, such as restaurant declarations regarding employee ID cards, to be authorized instead. “

Facing crippling losses after the first and second waves in 2020 and 2021, especially during the lockdown, 50% of the more than 2,700 licensed restaurants in Delhi have not renewed their healthcare business licenses for months. Senior MCD officials said many of them had gone out of business because they could not afford rent and several others switched to home delivery to keep their businesses running.

“Jan aur jahan dono saath me leke kaise chale koi sochta nahi hai. (They don’t think of how to balance life and business), ”Katiyar said.

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