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NEW DELHI: Liquor major Diageo India has partnered with industry body National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) to vaccinate staff of food and beverage outlets through its Raising the Bar programme.

Through this, Diageo India can support 20,000 employees from the industry, providing them both doses of the vaccine, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

The initiative, underway since June 2021, gives employees of 1,500 outlets, registered under the Raising the Bar programme, an option to get vaccinated at select hospitals, with whom NRAI has partnered.

The drive is taking place in Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Pune, and Goa.

Diageo’s ‘Raising the Bar’ programme was launched in June 2020. The spirits company that sells Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff brands had then committed Rs75 crore towards revival and recovery of pubs, bars and restaurants.

“As a part of this program, Diageo India and NRAI will now provide necessary support to the F&B industry during the pandemic by covering the costs for the vaccines for all restaurant employees," it said.

The restaurant industry has been hit hard by covid-19 led restrictions that caused temporary closure of outlets. The industry also saw several restaurants shut shop.

For liquor companies, the restaurant ecosystem is significantly important as it aids consumption and discovery of brands.

“The revival of this sector is vital to the economy and to the cultural ecosystems of cities. As the F&B industry in India opens operations, our aim is to provide enhanced safety measures to bring back employee and consumer confidence to return to the places they cherish," Shweta Jain, Vice President Luxury Commercial, Key Accounts India & South Asia, Diageo India said.

Vaccination is also key to how quickly businesses can get back to normalcy.

"This initiative will further cement the relationship between the F&B Fraternity and Diageo India, and NRAI Vaccination drive will ensure that the staff of our member restaurants resume work quickly, creating a safe environment for our guests", Anurag Katriar, President, NRAI and Founder & Managing Director of Indigo Hospitality Pvt Ltd said.

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