KOCHI: With the commencement of the holy month of Ramdan, the government has extended the operational time of restaurants and hotels till 10pm. However, not many in the district are thrilled about the move as the majority of the restaurants are not in a financial position to make use of the leeway.
According to Kerala Hotel and Restaurants Association (KHRA), there are around 5,000 eateries in the small scale category in the district. They are the worse hit due to the lockdown as the majority of them do not have any tie-ups with online delivery services. The commission ranging from 15 to 25 per cent of the total cost demanded by delivery service providers remains economically unviable for these eateries, as they primarily cater to the middle class. Hence, many of them are forced to stay closed during the lockdown.
Though takeaway services are allowed, hoteliers say they can’t invest more on it as very few people would venture out during this time.“About 75 per cent of the workforce in small eateries are migrants. The majority of them are staying in camps and hence owners are looking after their food and essential requirements though there is no business. Even the medium and upscale restaurants that are providing online delivery are functioning for the sake of it, with no profits to show,” said Azeez Moosa, district president, KHRA.
Though the lockdown extends, small restaurants in Aluva and Perumbavoor regions have started functioning, albeit the loss. Many more hotels are also planning to open in the coming days, expectant of the Ramdan crowd.
In the previous years, eateries in Karukapilly and SRM Road saw a huge sale of snacks during the breaking of the fast. Many bakeries and hotels in the region had vending carts for the same. But, this year, bakeries are cautious.“Incidents of people crowding around shops and breaking the safety protocol can lead to curbing sales. But, we hope many shops will open at least during this period,” said Azeez.