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Online food delivery picks up again as Omicron drives the third COVID-19 wave

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As COVID-19 infections soar again, restaurants and eateries are witnessing a jump in demand for online food delivery. The Delhi government has banned dine-in in the national capital to contain a surge in new infections. Restaurants, however, are permitted to offer home delivery and takeaways.

Online food delivery picks up again as Omicron drives the third COVID-19 wave

Amid rising COVID-19 cases and curbs to restrict movement, especially on weekends in various states, restaurants and eateries are yet again witnessing a jump in demand for online food delivery.

The Delhi government has banned dine-in in the national capital to contain a surge in new infections. Restaurants, however, will be able to offer home delivery and takeaways.

The new restrictions are part of the city's Graded Response Action Plan, which started last week with the implementation of a weekend curfew.

According to multiple restaurateurs, the industry which was previously hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic is staying operational by depending on online delivery as dine-in suffers once again. They anticipate that the growth in online demand will be temporary and that it will return to normal once the restrictions are relaxed.

Restaurant owners, however, caution that if the restrictions last longer than four to six weeks, it is going to be disastrous for the industry.

According to Aseem Grover, owner of Big Chill, how long the variant lasts will be critical. This wave comes just as unexpectedly and suddenly as the first and second waves. However, in the first wave, people who had been in business for a long time had savings and backups. In the second wave, it was greatly reduced, and in the third, it is completely absent.

Ready-to-eat food delivery has emerged as a major category thanks to several user-friendly applications. Early on in the pandemic, lockdowns and physical separation requirements gave this category a huge boost, with delivery becoming a lifeline for many. It is expected to become a permanent fixture in the dining scene in the coming years.

While there may be some impact on the numbers of food deliveries due to apprehensions regarding the spread of the Omicron variant, the industry will still grow on quarter-on-quarter basis, according to management consultancy Redseer.
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