Restaurant owners want business hours to be extended to 8:00pm for dining establishments
The reopening of restaurants across the country remains uncertain, as owners believe the government-set business hours – 8:00am to 4:00pm – are not cost-effective for them.
The businessmen want the timing to be extended to 8:00pm for restaurants.
"We are in an uncertain situation now. If we open restaurants now, we may operate them from 8:00am to 4:00pm. But, this is not possible to afford the cost by keeping restaurants open for this short a period. We want them to operate from 8:00am to 8:00pm," said Khandaker Ruhul Amin, president of the Bangladesh Restaurant Owners Association.
After a meeting of the central executive committee of the association on Monday evening, he said, "We will meet with the higher authorities of the police and the commerce ministry soon. If the authorities allow us to operate till 8:00pm, we will open our restaurants."
He mentioned that most owners are not interested in opening their restaurants in this situation.
"I, myself, will not open my restaurant. However, if an owner wants to open his restaurant in such a situation, he may do it," Ruhul Amin told The Business Standard.
The association has decided to maintain nine health measures against the novel coronavirus.
Mir Akter Uddin Dulal, owner of the Dhanmondi Star Kabab, said, "The novel coronavirus situation has not yet improved. So, we will observe the situation till June 15. Then we will decide on opening our restaurant."
"We have 200 employees. Most of them are not interested in coming to Dhaka right now," he added.
"If we want to maintain social distancing, the seat capacity of the hotel must be decreased. And by decreasing the number of seats and operating hours, we will not be able to afford the costs," said MS Alam Shahjahan, owner of the Rajdhani Hotel and Restaurant in Gulistan.
According to the association, all the restaurants across the country were shuttered after 22 March.
There are around 30,000 restaurants all over the country, and some 8,000 of them in the capital alone.
Around 4,500 restaurants are located in the Dhaka South City Corporation, while some 3,500 are in the Dhaka North City Corporation.
Some nine lakh people are employed in the sector.
The government enforced a countrywide shutdown on March 26 to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, but it lifted the restrictions earlier this week, allowing businesses, offices and public transportation to operate on a limited scale.