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LRU demands reopening, relief package for restaurants

Lahore Restaurants Unity (LRU) Chairman Aamer Qureshi (MD, The Poet Boutique Restaurant) along with other representatives including Gohraiz Habib Khan Lodhi, Muhammad Arif Khan, Wajdan Azeem, Hafiz Nadeem Ahmad and Nadeem Ahmad met Mian Aslam Iqbal, Provincial Minister for Industries, Commerce and Investment. In the meeting, held at the ministry office in GOR Lahore, the LRU collectively asked for a relief package for the restaurants industry and demanded a quick reopening of the restaurants.

According to the details, after Mian Aslam Iqbal welcomed the Lahore Restaurants Unity chairman and team, discussion was held on the reopening of the restaurants and discriminatory behaviour with the hospitality industry by the government.

In the meeting, Aamer Qureshi, emphasising LRU’s complete support to the government, assured that restaurants would take utmost precautionary measures to ensure customers’ health and safety. He also said that the staff at the restaurants is exclusively trained in routine days as well to ensure proper hygiene and cleanliness.

Restaurants’ rentals and utility bills should also be taken care of and there should be a relief package for them by the government, Aamer Qureshi added.

Mian Aslam Iqbal assured that the government was already pondering over of the reopening this industry under special SOPs and soon there would be a good news which would enable all kinds of people associated with the restaurants industry to meet their day to day needs.

Other members of the LRU also shared their views and asked for a quick response from the government in this regard.

At the end of the meeting, LRU Chairman Aamer Qureshi presented a souvenir to Mian Aslam Iqbal.

Earlier, LRU Chairman Aamer Qureshi (MD, the Poet Boutique Restaurant) held a press conference on June 8, 2020 at the Press Club, Lahore along with other representatives of the LRU; Goharaiz Habib Khan (Country Head, KFC), Muhammad Arif Khan (Cock n Bull) and Wajdan Azeem (Tabaq Restaurant).

The press conference was held to address the injustice being done to the restaurants industry disabling hundreds of thousands of poor labour and ancillary staff to meet their day to day needs.

The government had failed to introduce equal and just policies for different sectors of the society, especially for the restaurants industry, Aamer Qureshi said while talking to the reporters.

He emphasised that the restaurants’ owners had gone so much in loss due to this lockdown that many of them had sold their setups while many others were planning to sell them soon.

“The opening of parks and transport is much more dangerous than opening the restaurants because restaurants – even in normal situation – are habitual of taking all safety and precautionary measures to keep the customers and staff; safe”, he explained.

He also criticised the role of Punjab Food Authority (PFA) especially for the restaurants industry. Guidelines should be provided and government should sit with Lahore Restaurants Unity to form specialised SOPs for the restaurants’ operations, he said.

All restaurant owners shall assure providing 100% hygienic, safe and healthy food to the customers keeping in mind the limitations of social distancing, clean environment and disinfected surfaces, he added.

He also raised voice for the restaurants to get their three months rentals waived off by the government, semi government and private owners. He also asked the government to waive off the utility bills of the restaurants amid lockdown.

He demanded to have 50% discounted rentals of the government, semi government and private properties for six months after reopening of the restaurants.

It is important to note here that Aamer Qureshi, being Chairman, Lahore Restaurants Unity, has raised voice for this neglected sector during the bad times of coronavirus pandemic.

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