Novel Coronavirus, Covid-19 has caught the world's attention in no time and has been declared as a global pandemic. The governments across the world are leaving no stone unturned in taking stringent measures to curb the spread of the disease along with asking people to take self-care steps. With educational institutions, public places and tourist destinations, undergoing complete shutdown in most parts of India, the hospitality industry has also put its foot down.
The National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) has sent out an advisory to all its members to shut down operations of their restaurants till March 31, 2020 or till the time no new coronavirus cases are reported.
"We at NRAI have been closely following what has been happening with the coronavirus outbreak. We find ourselves today in an unprecedented situation where we are compelled to make some difficult decisions which have massive financial implications on our businesses, but we are doing this in the larger benefit for our teams, our guests and our communities, said a statement by the restaurant's body.
This comes after NRAI also noted that there has been a definite impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the overall food service business, with various segments being impacted in varying degrees.
— NRAI (@NRAI_India) March 13, 2020
The industry body, representing over 50 lakh restaurants across the country, further said that considering most of the employees in their restaurants use public transport to commute, they run a "huge" risk of getting infected and further becoming carriers of the deadly virus.
"In order to avoid any such risk, we advise all our members to shut down their operations and help curtail the spread of the deadly virus. We are also trying our best to ensure the well-being of our employees while they remain confined to their homes."
The NRAI statement noted that the food service works on the high proportion of fixed operating costs and the decision to shut down is extremely hard on the businesses.
It also said that it intends to work with all stakeholders in the ecosystem, from landlords to various departments of the government, banks and financial institutions and seek their support in mitigating the losses as far as possible.
On Monday, 17th March, 2020, restaurateur Priyank Sukhija of First Fiddle Restaurants, that has over 30 plus restaurants across India also announced that they are shutting down all their restaurants across the country from 17th March till 31st March, 2020 as a precautionary measure.
First fiddle becomes the first restaurant chain in india to voluntarily close its outlets and protect its guests and staff. Safety is our priority even at the cost of buisness #nraipic.twitter.com/h77kArkdfP— priyank sukhija (@priyanksukhija) March 17, 2020
In India, the total number of coronavirus cases has reached 147 with 130 active cases, as of Wednesday morning, as per the Union Health Ministry. A total of three deaths have been reported so far in the country, one each in Delhi, Maharashtra and Karnataka. Here's hoping that with the government and many private sector industries collectively taking stringent steps to curb the spread, we are able to eliminate the disease completely together.