The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI) requested Maharashtra Government to devise a policy whereby hotels, restaurants and bars in the state would be able to keep their licenses under abeyance or in custody for a period of one year or until the next renewal date. The Association has further requested the State Excise Department to provide an extension of time on the installment scheme by two months in view of the severe loss to business incurred by hospitality players during the lockdown. The Association had earlier asked the Government for a waiver of the 15 per cent increase in annual excise license fee. To this, the government offered liquor license holders the choice to either pay the entire fee by June 1 to receive a waiver or to pay the whole in three installments spread over one year.
“Since March 22, 2020 hotels and restaurants have been closed and in-dining specifically has been prohibited. We are not generating any revenue nor are we sure when will we be able to in the foreseeable future. We aren’t even being allowed to sell liquor as take away or deliveries. Against this backdrop we have been asked to pay the liquor license fee with a 15 per cent increase and our request for the rollback of the increase has been ignored. Furthermore, we are not being allowed to sell liquor as take away or deliveries. So now we are requesting the Government to devise a policy whereby restaurants & hotels are able to keep the license under abeyance or in custody for a period of one year or till the next renewal date during the subsistence of this pandemic or till such time that the circumstances are not favourable for doing business.” says Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, President, HRAWI.
HRAWI has also suggested that establishments that choose to keep their licenses in custody should be free to revive their licenses upon payment of fees and with no further new or additional conditions attached when reviving.