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‘Don’t kill our businesses’: Restaurant and shop owners hold protest against Maha govt’s lockdown orders

The restaurants, cafes, and bars in Mumbai have taken to Instagram to trend #MissionRoziRoti where the staff of the restaurants can be seen holding placards with slogans condemning the fresh restrictions imposed by the state government.

The recent stringent lockdown restrictions imposed in Maharashtra have enraged the trader and hospitality community. Having just started to recover from the severe impact of the previous lockdown, the businesses have once again been thrown off-guard and have been worried about the potential business loss. 

As per a Business Today report, the cost of Maharashtra’s lockdown is estimated to be Rs 40,000 crore and will result in a 0.32% dip in India’s GVA growth, as the state is the largest contributor in terms of GSDP.

With the state of Maharashtra contributing to nearly 60% of the new Covid-19 cases daily, the government has imposed several new restrictions for private offices and businesses which have severely impacted the small and medium traders and the hospitality community.

Several trade associations staged a protest by coming out on roads against the restrictions imposed by the state government.

The shop owners have put up posters outside their closed shops in the Mumbai suburbs. Several posters have been put up by Borivali East Traders Association.

The posters read:

  • “Don’t steal our business, we have families to feed”
  • “Lift lockdown, save businesses”
‘We survived Covid, but lockdown is killing us’, says a poster in Mumbai. Posters outside shops in Mumbai suburbs

The hospitality community in Mumbai too, has come together to protest against the restrictions imposed on the eateries. What started as a partial lockdown has turned into a full lockdown for many industries. Apart from the weekend lockdown, which is expected to impact businesses heavily, the night curfew from 8 pm is also going to cause major business loss to restaurants and eateries.

The restaurants, cafes and bars in Mumbai have taken to Instagram to trend #MissionRoziRoti where the staff of the restaurants can be seen holding placards with messages such as:

  • “Abki baar, sirf hum kyu berozgaar?”
  • “IPL on. Film shoot on. Humne kya gunah kiya?”
  • “Baari baari sabki baari, fir kyu sirf humari berozgaari?”
  • “Duniya ko khilane wale aaj khud bhooke soenge.”
  • “Are we not your family? Then why are you not taking our responsibility?”, read a poster in Marathi.
The Instagram post of Monkey Bar Mumbai participating in the #MissionRoziRoti trend. Image Source: Instagram
Staff of The Fatty Bao holding placards. Image Source: Instagram
Staff of a popular cafe in Mumbai holding placards. Image Source: Instagram

Over a 100 eateries in Mumbai have participated in this trend. The ones who managed to stay afloat in the last lockdown fear having to shut their businesses permanently this time. 

As per the revised guidelines, only essential services are allowed to operate while the hotels, restaurants, cinema halls, theatres, salons, gyms, parlors, and clothing, shoes, toys, jewelry and furniture stores have been ordered to shut shop till April 30.

The state has permitted the eateries for ‘delivery-only’ during the day on weekdays, however, they are ordered to remain shut for weekend curfews.  

Final nail in the coffin for the hospitality industry:

The restaurant industry which was just getting back on its feet after suffering heavy losses in the last lockdown and burning capital to revive business despite the loss incurred is expected to take a bad hit again. 

As per a report, 20% of the restaurants in multiple states had to shut shop permanently after the first lockdown.

Anurag Katriar, ED & CEO – deGustibus Hospitality P Ltd and the President of National Restaurants Association of India (NRAI) in stated that the Maharashtra’s government’s order to impose a night curfew from 8 pm will badly impact restaurants and eateries because dinner-time is when 75% of the business happens. Further weekends contribute to more than 60% of entire week’s businesses for eateries and restaurants. With night curfew every day, and weekend lockdown, the restaurants may as well shut their business, as the losses incurred will be unsustainable.

Migrant laborers leave Mumbai:

Lack of clarity on the government’s guidelines and the fear of an impending lockdown has forced the migrant laborers in Mumbai to leave the city and head back to their hometowns. Trains at Mumbai’s Lokmanya Tilak Terminus were seen packed with migrant workers heading back home.

A migrant worker speaking to a ANI reporter said, “We are leaving for our hometown in Uttar Pradesh. As of now, there is a night curfew in place. It is very likely that a lockdown will be put into place. To avoid chaos like the previous lockdown, we are travelling back to our native place. Not sure when, whether we will come back here.”

The state government seems to be doing very little to curb fear-mongering and assure the residents of the state.

Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam while speaking to the media said, “Many of them fear that a lockdown will be imposed in the state due to rising Covid cases. However, our state government has no such plans. We do not want businesses or small businessmen to incur losses.”

“Many of them have not even got themselves tested for Covid-19 and have boarded the train illegally. We are looking into the situation. However, I can assure you that none of them can return back to our state without showing a Covid negative report, ” he added.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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