Shimla: Hotel and Restaurant Association of Northern India (HRANI) has urged Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur to help in saving and reviving the hospitality sector and workers associated with it.

Hoteliers have said that the impact of COVID-19 on the hospitality industry has been extremely disruptive. Among all the core sectors of the economy, hospitality was the first one to fall and is going to be the last to recover, hence becoming the biggest causality of the pandemic. The industry had lost all its business after the lockdown came into effect and the zero-business scenario remained for seven to ten months during last year.

Secretary-General, HRANI Renu Thapliyal has said “With the second wave of COVID-19 resulting into more severe restrictions imposed by various state governments and local authorities on the hospitality sector, it is really impossible for the hospitality sector to stay afloat.”

Hoteliers have demanded the government to either refund or adjust the excise fees paid by licensee Bars, Hotels and Restaurants for the non-operations period. They have also demanded to waive off excise fee for the next six months.

Apart from this, HRANI has also demanded CM to waive off fixed charges electricity bills for Hotels, Restaurant, Resorts and Water Parks, waiver of water bill and sewerage charges for next six months, automatic extension /onetime special renewal of Certificates for one year from all departments such as FIRE NOC, Municipal License Renewals Certificate of Weight and Measurement from Legal Metrology Department; Certificate for lift Operations; Shops and Establishment Certificate and Consent to Operate by Pollution Control Board.

The hoteliers have also demanded the government to waive off property Tax / House Tax by extending a waiver for hotels and hospitality establishments for a suitable period during the current financial year.

HRANI has also demanded the state government to increase of limit of 25 guests for social functions for spacious premises. The Banquets, Premises and halls having larger space should be allowed to host social functions and gatherings with 50% capacity without any further local permission, provided the protocol of social distancing is maintained.

Furthermore, HRANI has also requested the CM to permit onetime special renewal or automatic extension of all approvals and licenses to be valid till March 31, 2022, and relief from penal provisions for delays in dues and relief from regulatory compliances under State or Central Laws being implemented by the states including Byelaws.