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NEW DELHI: Industry body National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) on Thursday said it is working with its member restaurants to ensure 100% vaccination of more than 20,000 employees working with them.

Over the last few months, large liquor companies, too, have partnered with NRAI to drive vaccinations for the restaurant industry employees. Companies such as Beam Suntory India, Diageo India, Pernod Ricard India and United Breweries Ltd have stepped up efforts.

Sales via bars and restaurants contribute significantly towards revenues for liquor companies. As a result, timely opening up of restaurants is crucial to both the eating out market as well as the alcoholic beverages industry.

Through this initiative, NRAI aims to vaccinate 20,000 “restaurant warriors" across member establishments nationwide. "As cities begin to reopen, safety and wellbeing of employees and guests are of utmost importance to us," the association said in a note on Thursday.

NRAI is hosting vaccination camps in cities like Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Kolkata, Ludhiana, Jaipur, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Chennai and Goa.

The restaurant industry has had a choppy year as covid waves upend the eating out market. Even as markets open up, the urgency to drive vaccination is visible.

"Getting our employees vaccinated is key to achieving normalization and therefore, we have launched this initiative," Anurag Katriar, president of NRAI said. “Our trade partners’ contribution will help us vaccinate thousands of restaurant staff across our member establishments nationwide. This initiative will help them return to work faster and fearlessly, creating a safe environment for our guests," Katriar said.

As the backbone of the industry, their health and safety are key, making vaccination the need of the hour, said Neeraj Kumar, managing director, Beam Suntory India said.

Diageo India under its Raising the Bar program has already announced several initiatives for the hospitality industry.

"India’s food and beverage industry witnessed unprecedented challenges during the pandemic, which has severely impacted our communities. As the industry opens operations, our aim is to support the community under our ‘Raising the Bar’ program so that their business and employment can revive," said Shweta Jain, vice president, luxury commercial, key accounts India and South Asia, Diageo India.

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