Tribune News Service
Dharamsala, June 9
Despite the government allowing restaurants and eating joints to function till 2 pm from June 7, more than 90 per cent units have still not started their operations. Most of eating joints and restaurants in tourist city of Dharamsala are still lying closed.
The owners are alleging that under the present set of guidelines issued by the government it was not possible to operate. They are also alleging that many eating joints might find it difficult to restart even after the lockdown restrictions.
The closed eating joints and restaurants are posing problems for tourists and traders coming here for business or other purposes. Rishab, who came to Dharamsala for supplying material to a under construction company, said that everything, including shops, close at 2 pm. Even hotels are not offering food. “I have been buying milk and fruit to sustain myself during my stay at Dharamsala”, he said.
The director of a mall at the most happening place in Dharamsala, Guddu Pathania, while talking to The Tribune, said that all the eating joints in their mall were lying closed. Some of tenants, who were running eating joints, have vacated these. Only the Pizza Hut was providing home delivery in the mall, Pathania said.
Pathania said the government has allowed the eating joints to open till 2 pm and that too with the condition that just takeaway service was allowed. It was not possible for any eating joint to open for such a short time. The people running eating joints were finding it difficult to pay rents, electricity bill and salary of employees due to which some of them have decided to close down, he said.
Sanjeev Gandhi, general secretary of Hotel and Restaurant Association of Smart City, Dharamsala, while talking to The Tribune, said that despite government allowing them to operate till 2 pm all eating joints in McLeodganj were lying closed. Even the hotels and guest house owners, which have long stay guests, are not offering food services as it was difficult to bear expenses of maintaining staff for restaurant section.
Gandhi said that many people, who had opened eating joints in McLeodganj by taking building on lease have left as they were finding it difficult to pay rents which were very heavy in Upper Dharamsala.
Some of the famous eating joints in McLeodganj as the Mcleo Restaurant have also been lying closed. Pankaj Chadha, owner of Mcleo restaurant, said that restaurants in McLeodganj are unlikely to open up till the end of June.
“Even if the government allows the restaurants to open till late in the evening now, we would have to again arrange staff that has been sent home. There are no tourists also in Dharamsala that are lifeline of food industry and Tibetan community that has significant population in McLeodganj was staying indoors for the fear of coronavirus”, he said.
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