MUMBAI: Though restaurants and bars, which are set to reopen from October first week, will initially operate at 50% capacity as part of social distancing norms, all employees are being called in for duty as the new normal includes several additional responsibilities such as cleaning, sanitization and thermal checking over and above routine services.
“We are in touch with almost all workers who had migrated to their hometowns during the lockdown. We expect 60-70% employees to join work from the first week,” said Shivanand Shetty, president of Ahar, an umbrella body of over 15,000 bars, restaurants and eateries in the city.
Several bar and restaurant owners have offered to pay for the return journey of their employees. “Around 50% of the 60 lakh employees across the state are from outside Maharashtra. The percentage is higher in Mumbai,” said Shivanand, adding a large chunk of their staff is from the northern and north-eastern states, besides Goa, Karnataka and Gujarat.
“Restaurants will need extra waiters and cleaners as there are norms not to share waiters among tables. Since waiters and tables will be dedicated to one set of patrons at a time, the amount of work will naturally be more, especially in bars, even if they are operated at 50% capacity,” said former president of Ahar, Adarsh Shetty.
Besides the workforce of 60 lakh that is directly employed by the four lakh restaurants, bars and eateries in the state, another 1.8 crore are indirect employees who are into cultivation and supply of agro, dairy, hatcheries and all other commodities consumed in large quantities at these establishments.

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