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Crackdown on food deliveries hits restaurants

COVID patients, kin waiting for meals badly affected

The sudden crackdown by police on food delivery executives had an immediate impact on restaurants which are already reeling from the effects of lockdown. “It is a blow for us. If they had told us earlier, we would stayed shut. All these days, deliveries were permitted. What has changed overnight,” asked Ali, a partner of Sarvi Cafe in Banjara Hills.

The lockdown guidelines of May 11, GO MS no.8 clearly allow deliveries: “7) Delivery of all e-commerce and home delivery services are permitted”. However, restaurants which were delivering food through app-based platforms suddenly found themselves out of business as police started stopping delivery executives and penalising them besides seizing their vehicles.

Affected in the process were hundreds of COVID-19 patients and their kin waiting for their lunch. “There is an old couple living near OGH, Afzal Gunj who are unable to get any food since morning due to unavailability of Swiggy/Zomato in the city. Please help them with cooked food as soon as possible. Contact: +9187901XXX66,” read a tweet by a volunteer at 5.59 p.m. as the apps stopped delivery.

Wastage and losses

“The raw materials for our restaurant got delivered in the morning and were then wasted as we learnt at 9 p.m. on Friday that the enforcement of lockdown will be tough and no delivery will be allowed,” informed Muhammad Rabbani of Shah Ghouse Cafe in Gachibowli.

The food industry in Hyderabad has seen a big churn over the last two years as the lockdown and stoppage of dine-in facility has impacted their business. While a large number of restaurants have shut down, others have changed hands. According to an industry insider, one of the smaller food outlets is even running a crowd-funding campaign to stay in the business.

However, a few delivery executives in the Mehdipatnam and Toli Chowki areas managed to make their deliveries, thanks to their expert knowledge about the inner lanes.

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