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‘Unlock 3’: A Ray Of Hope For Hospitality
Lockdown has brought the hospitality industry to a standstill; however, the hospitality sector has outlived infinite challenges and Covid-19 will be no exception. Unlock 3 is the beginning for the same.
Photo Credit : Bivash Banerjee
Contributing a large amount to the nation’s GDP, the hospitality industry constitutes of about eight per cent of the total employment. The triggering of the coronavirus crisis combined with the incessant loss of business and with no relief in sight urged the industry to take the extreme path of eliminating manpower. According to the Hotel Association of India (HAI), the sector is walking at a potential job loss of around 80 per cent of the total workforce.
The sealed borders, steady lockdowns and restraint travelling only added fire to the burning hospitality industry. However, with the unlock 3, the fire appears to be settling, endowing a ray of light and hope with everybody associated with the business. Sylvain Laroche, Director of Operations, ibis and ibis Styles India, said, "In my opinion, Unlock 3 will give the hospitality industry a chance to get back on track and, with elevated safety and hygiene standards implemented across all our hotels in India we are ready to welcome our guests in a safe and hygienic environment. We are humbled to have played our part in limiting the spread of this virus across the country and in providing comfort, care and safety to repatriating guests, self-isolating guests and guests under government-mandated isolation."
The Ministry of Home Affairs announced the ‘Unlock 3’ guidelines permitting all the activities outside the containment zones except school, colleges, educational institutions, cinema halls, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars, assembly halls and similar places. It further mentioned that although yoga institutes and gymnasiums will be allowed to function, they shall have to follow the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) issued by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The government has further decided to permit hotels and hospitality services under the Centre’s ‘Unlock 3’ plan, the third phase of the gradual lifting of curbs to restrain the outspread of Covid-19. “With the permission of unlocking, significant reduction of the number of active cases in Delhi, removal of night curfew and hotels ensuring the right health and safety measures; we strongly believe that the hotels can look at improved occupancies and better footfalls over the next 2 quarters,” highlighted Shwetank Singh, Vice President, Development and Asset Management, InterGlobe Hotels.
Furthermore, Ankita Sheth, Co-Founder Vista Rooms mentioned, “After being cooped up for so long, families are looking for a change in scenery but safety and hygiene being utmost priority. Thus, the hospitality sector has enhanced their safety protocol with mandatory checkups for guests and staff, hygiene and social distancing protocols, and enhanced cleaning technology. Substitution of International trips with luxury domestic trips, in driveable distances being opted for where they have all amenities, service, including a cook, and safety measures taken care of. The response is overwhelming and one of the reasons Domestic tourism is recovering slowly.”
In addition, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s announcement of expanding the loan moratorium period came as a blessing in disguise for the hospitality sector, suffering from a serious blow of the pandemic. She affirmed that the ministry was talking to the RBI on restructuring loans for the industry. The RBI had extended the moratorium period for three months till August 31. The hospitality sector has for long been insisting the government to halt loan repayments after the six-month moratorium terminates on August 31.