TN hoteliers cautious about resuming business

The restaurant owners in Chennai are apprehensive about opening their cafes and hotels as they expect only a 30 per cent footfall after remaining closed for two months due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Restaurants in Chennai have been permitted to open with 50 per cent capacity but most of them have adopted a cautious attitude.

K.T. Srinivasa Raja, Managing Director of the Adayar Ananda Bhavan chain of restaurants, said most of the restaurant owners have decided not to open their doors.

Speaking to IANS, the hotelier said, “The restaurant owners are apprehensive about the possible footfalls and most of them are adopting a wait and watch policy to the government’s order to open the restaurants from Monday. Most of the workers employed in hotels have left for home after the second wave of Covid-19 commenced, with some leaving for north India and others to villages in Tamil Nadu. We will consider opening restaurants after a few days.”

However, some other restaurants have decided to open and have welcomed the government’s decision. Most of the restaurants will serve south Indian food as most of the cooks who were experts in north Indian cuisine have gone home.

Manoj Ramanathan, owner of a multi-cuisine restaurant at Anna Nagar (east) in Chennai, told IANS, “We are opening the shops with 50 per cent capacity as directed by the government. We will be keeping half the tables and chairs in the restaurant and will cover the tables with acrylic covers so that we could sanitise them periodically along with cleaning them. We are expecting only 30 per cent of the business but are optimistic that it will pick up in the coming days. All the standard Covid-19 protocols would be maintained at our place.”

Even as most of the restaurants are apprehensive, some have taken the risk and have already opened. Moideen Ahmad, a restaurant owner who serves non-vegetarian food at Triplicane and hails from Kozhikode in Kerala, said, “Yes we have opened our shop and most of our employees are from Kerala and we serve chicken biryani. I think there is considerable rush in the shop since we opened it on Monday morning. I hope this flow is maintained.”