The Narendra Modi government on Saturday said 'Unlock-1' will be initiated in India from June 8 under which the nationwide lockdown effectuated on March 25 will be relaxed to a great extent, including opening of shopping malls, restaurants and religious places.
However, one of the sectors hit the hardest due to the pandemic and the lockdown is hospitality. Under the new rules, restaurants are allowed to open from June 8. Hotel stocks rallied in trade as investors heaved a sigh of relief.
While this comes as a boost for the sector, there are a few conditions. You can serve food but not alcohol, there is a 9 pm curfew, which would mean shutters down by 8 pm so the staff can get back home. There is no clarity on how things will pan out in cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai where cases are on the rise and several areas marked as containment zones where strict lockdown rules will continue to apply. And last but not the least - will they see footfall? Will people be confident enough to dine-out?
Puneet Chhatwal, managing director and chief executive officer of Indian Hotels; Nakul Anand, executive director of ITC and the chairman of Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism and Hospitality; SP Jain, the managing director of Pride Group of Hotels and Deep Kalra, founder and group executive chairman of Make My Trip, discussed these issues.