Save the Restaurants of Ahmedabad

Save the Restaurants of Ahmedabad

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Varun Rawal started this petition to The Federation of Hotel & Restaurants Association of India

To our governor, mayor, and legislator:

Imagine your cities without their most beloved restaurants and hotels — from cherished third-generation mom-and-pops to cutting-edge fine-dining spots that bring tourists, international attention, and increased real-estate value to neighborhoods.

It’s unimaginable, right?

Restaurants and hotels are defining and vital contributors to our communities. They are gathering places where people celebrate good times and forget their troubles in bad. Older ones are as much a part of their landscape and cities’ identity as landmark buildings, theaters, and museums. But the danger of COVID-19 means that they can no longer be that place for people. And it means that this time, we are among those in trouble.

As chefs, and restaurant and hotel owners, we are writing to tell you that without swift action and commitment from our local and state governments, many of the restaurants that closed voluntarily—or by mandate—at this moment of crisis will not come back. That sounds like an exaggeration. It is not. We are on the brink of extinction.

Just as many individuals live from paycheck to paycheck, so too do restaurants and hotels. There’s no nest egg. No reserve fund. No glass to break in case of emergency. We cannot work from home, and even if we temporarily convert to delivery and carry-out, we lose most of our revenue and the tips our employees depend upon to survive. Without significant help, many if not most of us will vanish, and our communities will be deprived of their gathering places, generosity, and memories old and yet to come. Dark spaces with hand-scrawled signs in the window will be grim souvenirs of the light and laughter that once emanated from them.

We implore you to engage with local industry leaders and restaurant associations immediately to come to a swift plan for how you can meaningfully give your local restaurants the best chance for survival. The needs vary from city to city, but at a minimum, we humbly implore you to please consider:

  • Providing emergency employment benefits to all hourly and salaried workers who have been laid off or suffered or lost their pay for the length of this crisis.
  • Waiving payroll tax
  • Endorsing rent and loan abatement for workers
  • Waving zoning or permit restrictions to allow restaurants to temporarily use their spaces as boutique food and beverage markets, offering an alternative to overcrowded supermarkets and by extension continuing to pay their staff and support their farms and purveyors. 

For years, chefs, and restaurant and hotel owners have contributed to our communities, routinely providing food, service and auction items to fundraisers and other charity events, even though we earn precious little ourselves. Now, we need help from our communities and government.

Thank you for your consideration. With your swift leadership, commitment, and action, we look forward to serving you and our communities again in the near future.

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