The VICE Guide to Right Now

Restaurants in Karnataka are Protesting Lockdown Rules by Threatening to Stop Deliveries

This is the first big stand against Lockdown 4.0.
19 May 2020, 7:42am
food delivery karnataka india

While we now complete almost two months of being shut inside our houses, there doesn’t seem to be an improvement in the COVID-19 situation in sight—the number of cases in India has now crossed the 1-lakh mark. However, the government has now slowly started removing restrictions on movement as a result of growing impatience and restlessness and to boost a continuously dipping economy.

So in the Lockdown 4.0 guidelines which were announced a few days ago, salons, non-essential online deliveries, and public spaces like parks and sports complexes were allowed to open by the central government in the non-containment zones, given that they comply with proper social distancing guidelines. Public transport and shops are also now allowed in the non-containment zones. However, hotels and restaurants have not been allowed to be opened to the public yet—with both only permitted to supply cooked food as takeaways or deliveries through online services.

In Karnataka, hoteliers and restaurant owners aren’t happy with the rules. Karnataka’s capital city, Bengaluru, was known for its food and nightlife in the pre-corona days and there are over 85,000 hoteliers in the state. The Karnataka Hotels Association told News18 that they would refuse being allowed only takeaways and home deliveries till May 31, as they have given multiple representations to the government about how they are prepared to abide by every condition set by the government on sanitising their premises and maintaining social distancing.

"There was lockdown 1, then 2 and then 3. We thought at least by lockdown 4, the government would allow us to operate. We are in a situation when even jewellery shops (as luxury purchases) can function,” said Madhukar Shetty, secretary of the Karnataka Hotels Association to News18. “If public transport can operate and buses with 30 passengers can ply for 10 to 12 hours, why can’t our hotels which are as big as 2,000 to 4,000 sq feet, not function?”

Shetty also said that the Association plans to meet Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa again on May 19 to speak to him about the business losses—takeaways bring hardly 5 to 10 percent of their revenues, which doesn’t make this service feasible for them to operate entirely with. The hoteliers are all waiting to reopen businesses as offices, factories, and shops will all start resuming business from today—and many of these workers could be potential customers for the restaurants.

"We have nothing against the opening of jewellery shops. But the ones who cater to the hungry are not being allowed to operate. We all have workers who we feed and whose shelter we provide. Why should we remain in this business? We will stop all our services and activities until the government understands and takes the right decision," added Shetty.

Patna in Bihar also saw restaurants and hotel owners protesting on May 18, after being denied the permission letter for home delivery of food. “Multiple restaurants did not have FSSAI licence due to which their pass has been cancelled,” said Patna Sadar SDO Tanay Sultania to ANI.

Follow Satviki on Instagram.