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Despite a court order, Valley restaurants resume for dine-in service

Despite a court order, Valley restaurants resume for dine-in service.

Restaurants need money to pay back loans, and employees are urging them to loosen up, according to sources.

Tired of waiting for the government to make a decision, some eateries in the Kathmandu Valley have restarted dine-in business, despite Covid rules that required them to only give take-away service. Industry sources predict that other restaurants will follow suit.

According to the District Administration Office’s most recent prohibitory order, restaurants, fast food outlets, and other dining establishments can provide take-out and home delivery services until 7 p.m.

However, beginning of last week, many eateries began offering dine-in service because they needed the money to pay off loans, and their staff were urging them to do so, according to those in the know.

Most restaurants appear to offer dine-in service from Jhamel to Patan, and from Thamel to Maharajgunj, although there appear to be few customers, according to witnesses.

Restaurants are not on the list of enterprises allowed to start under the current prohibitive order, but because it is unclear whether they may, numerous restaurants have begun to offer on-premise dining, according to Araniko Rajbhandari, president of the Nepal Restaurant and Bar Association.

“This is due to employee pressure, as eateries employ tens of thousands of people nationwide.”

According to a research published by the Central Bureau of Statistics, the tourist industry in Nepal employs 371,140 people.

The number of persons working in restaurants and mobile food service is 243,790, or 65.7 percent of the total.

Banks are starting to urge borrowers to pay their loan instalments on time, according to Rajbhandari, while restaurants operating out of rented space are being pressured to pay their landlords.

Rajbhandari runs Mahabouddha’s ND’s Café & Restaurant, which has added dine-in service. “By following health regulations, we have reopened for dine-in service. Shops and public transportation have reopened,” he said.

“The government has provided relief packages to hotels, but eateries were never considered by the government. I haven’t been told how many restaurants have reopened for dine-in service because the majority of them are still only offering take-out. But, as Rajbhandari pointed out, several restaurants have progressively begun to offer dine-in service.

The restaurants, on the other hand, have a relatively low customer flow. Customers who are out for various job purposes are coming to eat and leaving quickly, rather than coming with friends and family for leisure purposes, he said.

Because restaurants that had been closed for a long time needed working capital to reopen, the association took the initiative to negotiate an agreement with Jyoti Bikas Bank to provide collateral-free loans of up to Rs1.5 million each to Restaurant and Bar Association of Nepal member establishments.

“From the fiscal year 2021-22 onwards, the provision would be applied,” Rajbhandari added.

“We are really dissatisfied with the government,” Fire and Ice Pizzeria managing director Anna Maria Forgione said. Fire and Ice, according to Forgione, has solely offered delivery and takeaway services. “It’s only recently that we’ve started allowing 1-2 families with children to dine in with us. Nonetheless, the cops have been watching us closely for the past few weeks.”

“In the Valley, the roads are congested. “I’m not sure what the government’s reasoning is for shutting down dine-in services,” she said.

Mela Restaurant’s owner, Pramod Jaiswal, stated that they provide take-out service. “What if the police administration takes action since the government hasn’t offered any clear instructions on operating restaurants?” he said. “Government policy is perplexing because hotels are permitted to exist yet eateries are not.”

Source – The Kathmandu Post

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