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Days after the state government of Maharashtra has announced new restrictions for restaurants including the curfew timing for food delivery and compulsory testing rule for frontline delivery workers, hospitality associations have formed United Hospitality Forum of Maharashtra (UHF) and have initiated campaign #MissionRoziRoti to highlight their desperate bid for survival.

UHF has representation from both national and state level industry bodies including Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Association of India (FHRAI), Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI), National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) and Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (AHAR) among others.

The forum has organized a silent protest outside of all hotels and restaurants in the state on 8 April apart from launching a social media campaign which will be promoted using hashtags like #MissionRoziRoti #MajheKutumbhkonachiJababdari #Saveourkutumbh #saverestaurants.

FHRAI said that as of today, 30% of the hotels and restaurants in the country have shut down permanently due to financial losses. Over 20% of hotels and restaurants haven’t opened fully after the lockdown. The remaining 50% continue to run in losses and revenues are below 50% of the pre-covid levels.

“Of the approximately 30 lakh employees engaged in the industry directly in the Maharashtra, approximately 40% are just from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. Food delivery or parcel service is only a supplementary service to dine-in and it contributes only 5% to a restaurant’s earnings. We are at a complete dead-end and to express our desperate bid for survival have organized a silent protest on 8 April 2021 at 12:30 pm, outside hotels and restaurants across the state," said Sherry Bhatia, president, Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI).

Several city specific associations including Poona Hoteliers Association, United Hotel Association Pune, Nagpur Hotel and Restaurant Association, Aurangabad Hotel and Restaurant Association, Vasai Taluka Hotel Association, Hotel Owners’ association of Thane, Navi Mumbai Hotel Association, Palghar Hotel Association are rallying against the latest lockdown imposed in the State. The protest is also supported by various city and district level hospitality associations from Beed, Amaravati, Nanded, Hingoli, Jalna, Parbhani, Aurangabad, Satara, Osmanabad, and Vasind among others.

“As one of the largest employers of human capital in India, we don’t see this lockdown as an administrative issue but a human issue. We had just started to rehire people and these marginalized workers are once again staring at uncertainties for no fault of theirs. If I have to sum up the emotions of the sector at this moment, while business owners are dejected and disappointed, our workers are palpably very angry and upset. We are happy to sit with the government in finding an amicable solution to kick start the business," said Anurag Katriar, president, National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI).

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