RAWALPINDI: All Rawalpindi Restaurants Association on Saturday threatened to stage protests if the government did not allow restaurants to open their dining halls by Jan 18.

This was decided in a meeting of the association with its president, Mumtaz Ahmed, in the chair.

Representatives and restaurant owners in the garrison city also expressed their dismay over the government’s indifferent attitude towards the restaurant business as the outlets had been in problems since March 23 when the government imposed a lockdown throughout the country to further prevent the spread of Covid-19.

In a letter to Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiative Asad Umar the association’s secretary general, Mohammad Farooq Chaudhry said due to the prudent and proactive measures taken by National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), the Covid-19 pandemic has been presciently managed and skillfully controlled in Pakistan.

“The government plans to open educational institutions from Jan 18, but unfortunately, it has not yet worked out a feasible plan for the restaurants and food service-related sector, despite numerous assurances given by representative bodies of one of the core services industry,” it said.

It said closure of restaurants had led to severe financial setback, in many cases outright closure, to the owners and resulted in unemployment.

The restaurants, in fact, could more effectively follow the SOPs compared to marriage halls and marquees, given the amount of time people spend at weddings and their presence of people per square ft. of area. So, allow dine-in facilities to operate, as per protocols, to help save hundreds of restaurants from complete closure and to stop unemployment.”

Published in Dawn, January 17th, 2021

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