After a two-month-long pause, restaurants, malls and dine-in facilities finally reopened their doors to the consumers. Although the government allowed business activities to function, especially hotels and restaurants, Mall de Goa and Caculo Mall remained empty on Monday.
Only a bunch of restaurants opened their dine-in facilities by cutting down 50 per cent of their tables. If the restaurant is a 20 seater, only ten tables were serviceable for the guests.
Few restaurateurs decided to continue with the delivery service instead of opening dine-in services as it wouldn't be cost-effective. Restaurants aren't allowed to serve drinks, and all the places must shut by 9 pm, which poses a significant challenge as most of the revenue in Goa is generated via alcoholic beverages and mostly after 9 pm.
Restaurants in Goa earn about 80 per cent of their revenue by serving alcoholic drinks, and lunch only brings them 20 per cent revenue. The guidelines curated for hotels and restaurants are profitable for quick service restaurants and not for fine dining, said Rakshay Dhariwal member of National Restaurant Association of India.
Another major challenge for restaurateurs is lack of workforce, most of the staff have returned home and finding new people with the same skill set is a difficult task.
Currently, with the rising COVID-19 cases in South Goa, a handful of restaurant owners have decided to not open for another couple of months. They are also worried if guests don't visit restaurants, it will become highly challenging to pay the staff.
The restaurant association is seeking the government's help to reduce the rent charges, and help them sustain in the hospitality industry. According to restaurateurs, it would be challenging to bear additional costs on reopening dine-services while generating very less revenue.
On the other hand, the restaurants which did open made sure social distancing was maintained throughout, online payments were encouraged, menus were being sent to customers via WhatsApp and Bluetooth. Addresses and phone numbers were recorded of each guest in case of any COVID-19 related emergency.
All the restaurants that reopened were sanitised, staff had to wear face masks at all times, and temperature checks were mandatory for every customer.