Pak restaurant owners warn of reopening eateries

Islamabad, May 23 : The All Pakistan Restaurants Association has warned the government that it will open eateries across the country if they were not allowed to resume work by May 30, it was reported on Saturday.

Members of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the association in a press conference on Friday said that around 100,000 restaurants across the country will reopen by June 1, reports Dawn news.

JAC members said five million workers, vendors and relevant stakeholders were jobless since the government shut hotel business in mid-March.

The association's president and JAC chairman, Sheikh Abdul Waheed, said the government had allowed takeaway service but it benefitted only a handful of multinational fast food outlets as majority of the local restaurants did not have such clientele.

He said the restaurants had paid salaries to the employees for two months but it had become impossible to continue to pay them since there was no business at all because of the closure of eatries.

He further said the restaurants were more secure than travelling on train, plane and public transport as they had ample space to ensure social distancing.

JAC central leader Chaudhry Mohammad Farooq said since there was no dinning service available, labourers and low-paid workers could not find a decent place to eat.

Farooq said the government had been requested time and again to issue standard operating procedures (SOPs) for reopening restaurants but the authorities paid no heed to their request.

The restaurant owners have therefore decided to resume business even if the government fails to issue SOPs, Dawn news quoted the Chairman as saying said.

JAC member Sain Mohammad Ijaz said the restaurants were providing entry-level jobs to educated and semi-educated people.

He said the sudden closure of restaurants had put jobs of thousands of people at stake since the owners had themselves become jobless.

The government, in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus, had closed down markets, restaurants and public places in March.

The lockdown was however eased earlier this month and eateries were allowed to start takeaway and delivery services.

The government, however, has prohibited dine-in service in hotels and restaurants.

(IANS)

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Pak restaurant owners warn of reopening eateries