SRINAGAR: Restaurant and café owners in Kashmir valley are facing huge hardships to survive amid lockdowns in the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns day by day.
Sheikh Feroz, president Kashmir Restaurants & Cafes Association said, “We have already urged all our association members to follow strict COVID-19 SOPs as directed by the district administrations from time to time so that smooth and normal business of restaurants and Cafes all across the valley will not hinder as alarming raise of positive cases of COVID-19 in union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in the world and especially in Jammu and Kashmir, all the business activities came to standstill and it is our moral duty to keep the safety of clients and ourselves in this turbulent time on top priority and such safety measures during this Covid-19 pandemic in Jammu & Kashmir Union territory will play an important role for smooth running of hotels, restaurants and Cafes all across the valley,” he said.
Sheikh Feroz further said that during the last two lockdowns of Covid-19 pandemic in India and abroad, The restaurant and café business reeled under this challenge particularly because a large number of them are small to medium scale businesses with limited capacity to sustain through long periods of slow business. The post lockdown phase saw the reopening of the restaurant business but the pandemic continued to have its impact on this sector.”
“Last year we met the Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar and explained how the restaurant industry in Kashmir is struggling with losses in Covid-19 lockdowns. Till now, the owners of the restaurants were somehow managing to pay the salaries and other exigencies, but now it is becoming extremely difficult for them to continue making the payments without the businesses running,” RAK president said.
The president said that amid a surge in COVID cases in Kashmir, the people associated with the restaurant business are in distress fearing an upsurge in cases will dent their businesses badly and in winter months their business usually remains down, but they had high expectations from the coming months which now they feel will be spoiled by the spread of COVID.
He further said that the business and footfall of customers has nosedived and online orders and takeaways business has also been affected.
“Everyone has been affected in one or another way. Although all the members of our association follow all the SOPs as directed by district administrations from time to time and during the past few years it was already challenging and now business was back to normal but this new wave has crippled the business in a huge way,” he said.
Sheikh Feroz further said, “In the past few years, like other businesses, restaurants and cafés switched to online delivery systems but as the COVID affected the dine-in, it has also impacted the online delivery and takeaways.”