The week gone by had both good and bad news for the hospitality industry in Maharashtra. On one hand, when Maharashtra government imposed a night curfew dampening hopes for Christmas and year-end, on the other the state government decided to give concession in the liquor license fees for the lockdown period.
Night curfew shattered hopes
The Maharashtra government’s decision to impose a night curfew in the state has put rest to any hopes that the sector had of earning some revenue from year-end celebrations.
The hospitality industry - among the hardest hit by the lockdown as people preferred home-cooked meals and put off outings – is slowly getting back on its feet, and was hoping to ring in good times with the New Year.
The unexpected ban, following India’s decision to suspend flights to and from the UK after the emergence of a potent new strain of the coronavirus, has certainly dampened the mood.
“The hospitality industry is completely shattered with the State government’s decision of enforcing a night curfew. Our industry has been severely affected and this move will further add to our woes,” Pradeep Shetty, Senior Vice President, HRAWI (Hotel and Restaurant Association (Western India)) told Moneycontrol.
Just a week ago the restaurant association had written to the government seeking permission to operate restaurants for an additional two hours for the month so that they could earn some revenue.
License fee relief
The Maharashtra cabinet on Dec 23 gave a 50 percent concession on license fees for the lockdown period and withdrew a 15 percent increase in license fee for FY21 given the losses caused due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The concession in license fees is for FL III which is a permit room license and FL IV, a club license where imported and Indian liquor is served, and 30 percent discount in license fees in Form E that is mild liquor & wine bar license and Form E2 for wine bar license.
The liquor shops were shut between 38 days to 190 days during the lockdown period and the concessions were granted considering the losses due to the lockdown.
The Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association (AHAR), the apex body of the industry welcomed 50 percent waiver in license fee and rollback of the proposed 15 percent annual hike.