A week on, only 50% bars open shutters for business | Goa News

Panaji: A week after the government allowed bars, restaurants and taverns to restart operations, only about 50% of them have opened for business. Industry stakeholders who are balancing strict operating SOPs and reduced business volumes are hopeful that the situation will stabilise shortly.
“Though people have opened, business is very low and it will take more than a month for it to stabilise,” president of the All Goa Bar and Restaurant Owners’ Association (AGBROA), Michael Carrasco said.
The excise department has laid the onus of ensuring that the social distancing norms are followed on licensees, and Carrasco said that those who have started operations have done so with a few tables.
To add to the seating constraint facing operators, which reduces turnover, “consumers now prefer the non-air conditioned section of bars and restaurants because they fear the Covid-19 infection spreads faster in a closed air-conditioned environment”, Carrasco said.
In this situation, he said that those operating from rented premises will probably not resume operations any time soon, at least not till things normalises. “They are unable to pay the rent. The shops along the beach line are totally closed,” Carrasco said.
“One could easily recover the high cost of operation six months ago, but things are different now. An operator should call himself lucky if he is able to break-even,” said a licensee from North Goa.
Many are also not able to restart owing to lack of workforce. As with other sectors, this industry also relies on manpower from other states. “Many will restart after September 15 after their outstation employees join duty,” he said.
Finally, shops and restaurants along the highways, who relied on tourists and other travellers, can’t expect a rise in business volume till economic activities pick up. “There are at least seven to eight bars and restaurants in each village along the national highways. There will be more in some places. Unless there is a rise in economic activity, all will be struggling to survive,” he said.

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