The pandemic has stretched all industries thin, but the hotel and food business has suffered enormously with the pandemic. The trouble, however, has only just begun. One in every 10 restaurants in Bengaluru has been going on sale, due to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
Even as the hotel industry tries desperately to get back on its feet since Karnataka's Unlock 3.0, there has been little relief.
Restaurants suffer due to COVID-19 slump
The Bruhat Bengaluru Hotels Association had revealed earlier that 10% of the 21,000 hotels in Bengaluru are up for sale. Moreover, the industry has suffered a Rs 500 crore per month loss since the pandemic began.
For a long time before the lockdown began, the food business had expanded massively in a city the size of Bengaluru, with eateries opening up on every corner. However, not only have eateries had to shut shop, but areas are known for high footfall through the year such as Koramangala, VV Puram and others in the city, that turned into food hubs came to a complete standstill during the lockdown.
It's quite possible that even after the Unlock efforts by the government, these restaurants might take a long while before regaining their customer base. Echoing this the Bruhat Bengaluru Hotels Association said to Deccan Chronicle that 40% of the hotels remain shut as of now.
With low occupancy, high rentals to pay and over 1.25 lakh employees laid off, the situation isn't looking optimistic. Even as Congress politician DK Shivakumar made a plea a while back to the CM to reduce rentals and defer fees, this hardly solves the crisis.
The Bruhat Bengaluru Hotels Association has made demands such as — GST on rentals to be reduced from 18% to 12%, EPF relaxations till March 2021, a waiver on excise fees for bars and restaurants. Further, they've requested for electricity costs to be subsidised and a moratorium on loans to be extended for four months.
Even after the lockdown lifts, what the industry is combatting is the fear around Coronavirus, the after-effects of which will stay long. It is yet to be seen what the government will do in this regard, or will the hotel industry look entirely different in a post-pandemic Bengaluru.