Bhuban: Amid heavy losses caused owing to COVID-19 guidelines, hotel and restaurant owners of Bhuban town in Dhenkanal district are contemplating shutting shops till the end of lockdown announced by Odisha government.
The owners of the eateries say the losses they incurred May 5, the first day of the lockdown, has forced them to think about closing down their shops for the entire day even though they are allowed to keep open their shops till 12 pm.
“The administration has put restrictions on dining at hotels and restaurants. However, takeaway facility is there. Hoping to get some customers on the first day of the 14-day long lockdown, we had prepared varieties of food items. But none turned up. Consequently, the food items went to garbage leading to financial losses,” said Dushmant Kumar Prusty, a hotel owner.
Echoing the same sentiment, another restaurant owner Manas Kumar Sahu said, “Last year, the first wave of COVID-19 pandemic hit us hard. As we were trying to stand up again and hoping to recoup the losses, all our hopes were dashed amid the second wave of COVID-19. We will be benefited if dine-in is allowed with strict adherence to COVID guidelines. Otherwise, it will be difficult for us to run our units, make staff payment and pay electricity bills.”
“The lockdown has affected the fast food court owners immensely. Their business generally picks up in evening hours when they can’t even open their shops,” rued Papu Sahoo, an owner of fast food corner.
When contacted, Bhuban police station IIC Prashant Kumar Patra said during this pandemic time, the administration’s first priority is to save human lives. “We are ensuring that COVID guidelines are implemented at all costs. On the first day of the lockdown, we were a little bit lenient on some violators. But from the second day onwards, there will be no question of leniency”.