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KARACHI: All Pakistan Restaurants Association (APRA) on Wednesday expressed deep concern over the closure of their businesses and urged the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) to reopen restaurants and dining services following Covid-19 SOPs.

Addressing a press conference at Karachi Press Club (KPC), the representatives of APRA flanked with the President of FPCCI Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo said that the restaurant industry is in dire need of government support and facilitation as the sector is severely affected after its operations are forced shut and sales and revenues have been almost wiped out due to COVID-19.

They said restaurants have been closed from the last 12 months and the 24 lac people associated with the sector are suffering the most. “Due to constant closure of our restaurants, we have been facing challenges to even pay rent, and salaries of the employees.

“The kitchen that cooked food for you, also fed my family. Now how they booth are suffering. How can we pay wages and rent” reads an APRA banner.

The APRA representatives also warned the PTI-led Federal Government to take to roads, and also March towards the Prime Minister House if their demands were not met after the Eid-ul-Fitr.

Waqas Azeem, Convener FPCCI’s Standing Committee on Restaurants noted that the government has not yet provided any relief or support to the restaurant industry of the country; instead there are widespread reports that various departments such as Sindh Food Authority, EOBI, are extorting money through bribes from restaurants in the name of enforcing SOPs - which is proving to be a double whammy.

Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo has demanded that input and feedback should be taken from the restaurant industry players and stakeholders through a consultative process before announcing and forcing any restrictions - and, dine-in must be re-opened

Shaukat Ali Suleman Patron in Chief APRA praised Sindh Government for issuing special notification for the restaurants for clarifying and allowing takeaways and Car Dine 24 hours.

He said Corona does not spread by restaurants as the restaurant industry was only allowed to operate with only 50% seating capacity and that too under very strict SOPs.

He said that under current circumstances the restaurant industry has reached to a point where it can not survive and break-even without being allowed to resume dining services.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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