Mysore/Mysuru: Embracing a new culture of food serving and hospitality in times of COVID-19 pandemic, hotel and restaurant industry in Mysuru is all set to bring about a structural change in its functioning. From downsizing its menu to implementing social distancing by reducing the seating capacity, hotels and restaurants are preparing themselves for offering dine-in facility from June 8.
Even as hoteliers and restaurant owners welcomed the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the hospitality sector, they were cautious about future of the industry. “The SOPs have struck a right balance by making both the host hotel and visitor equally accountable for ensuring the guidelines are followed. We will be entering a new paradigm from June 8, because in hospitality industry the tradition is to pamper the visitor, but now we will also have to educate them,” said Mysuru District Hotel Owners Association President C. Narayanagowda.
At a two-hour-long meeting of the Association at its premises in Krishnamurthypuram, hoteliers discussed in detail about the implications of the SOPs on their business and customer relationships. They have decided to follow the SOPs but were upset about the 45 conditions imposed by the Centre to an already suffering industry due to lockdown.
The Association members pointed out that the safety of hotel/restaurant staff will also have to be considered. For that, they will have to be provided with adequate safety gear on a daily basis. They felt that following the conditions will naturally increase prices and invariably they have to be passed on to the consumers, they said.
Expressing displeasure about a lot of conditions, rules and regulations, they felt that many of the conditions were impractical and were not imposed on any other industry but only on hotel and hospitality sector. Rearranging tables and stipulating a minimum of two diners and a maximum of four diners are not going to address the issue of infection transmission, they claimed.
“Even though the SOPs are conducive and at the same time tight for opening both hotels and restaurants, but for restaurants, the night curfew timings and restrictions on serving liquor will act as big dampeners. Most customers come for dinner, but with night curfew starting from 9 pm, it will be tough to attract them,” they felt.
Striking a balancing note, Narayanagowda said, “While we are confident that all our partners will smoothly resume operations, we also anticipate the reopening to be a gradual process as SOPs are understood and get adhered to 100 percent. There is no alternative but to follow the SOPs,” he explained.
“Living with COVID-19 is set to become the new normal in the society. But with the Government planning to bring back normalcy, restaurants and hotels will also open. Hence, the solution will be to avoid circumstances that could spread infection. The fellow members have been asked to ensure measures in this regard,” he said.
At the meeting, P.M. Prasad of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India gave a presentation about the precautions, rules and regulations to be followed by hotels, restaurants and bakeries from June 8. Association members Ravi Shastri, Ravindra Bhat, Subramanya Tantri, Suresh Ugraiah, Bhaskar Shetty, Narayan Hegde, Narayan Kundera and others were present.