Eating out in your favourite restaurant will be possible in Maharashtra from the first week of October as Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has allowed opening up of nearly 4 lakh eateries and bars across the state that employ more than 60 lakh people directly and about 1.8 crore people indirectly by way of supporting hatcheries, agri processing industries and agriculture. The restaurants were closed since mid of March due to Covid-19 pandemic.
Thackeray had a meeting with the restaurant association on Monday where he said the state government has prepared a standard operating procedure (SOP) for the restaurants and the state administration is working towards making it operational soon.
The CM’s official statement on twitter read: “The state government has framed SOPs for reopening restaurants and those have been sent to the people concerned. A decision about reopening restaurants will be taken once these (SOPs) are finalised.” The original tweet in Marathi is give below.
राज्य शासनाने रेस्टॉरंट सुरु करण्यासाठी मार्गदर्शक तत्वे तयार केली असून ती संबंधितांना पाठविली आहेत.ती अंतिम झाल्यानंतर रेस्टॉरंट सुरु करण्याबाबत निर्णय घेतला जाईल असे मुख्यमंत्री उद्धव बाळासाहेब ठाकरे राज्यातील रेस्टॉरंट व्यवसायिक संघटनांच्या प्रतिनिधींसोबत चर्चा करताना म्हणाले.
— CMO Maharashtra (@CMOMaharashtra) September 28, 2020
Thackeray made it clear that the SOPs were meant for people’s safety and not to trouble restaurateurs.
“It will be important to take care of the health of chefs and other staffers in restaurants. They must wear masks, clean hands and ensure safety and cleanliness in restaurants,” the chief minister said.
The decision to open restaurants comes as a big relief to the hospitality industry which has been reeling under the severe effects of coronavirus. The eateries and bars would open just before Navaratri, the beginning of the festival season which means a lot for industry. Hotels that provide lodging and take away food were allowed to operate in Maharashtra in July, as a result a lot of their staffers like chefs and waiters returned to their home states and have not come back since. The Maharashtra government’s decision is likely to bring them back and provide employment to lakhs of migrants.
The Times of India reported that some 4 lakh restaurants and other food businesses, including in Mumbai, have agreed to the state government’s condition of allowing only 50 per cent capacity so as to follow COVID-19 guidelines on ensuring social distancing.