Restaurant owners rue ‘random’ orders for staffers’ RT-PCR tests – Times of India

Restaurant News

Pune: The Pune Restaurants and Hoteliers Association (PRAHA) has complained about “mishandling” and “half-knowledge” on part of the authorities checking restaurants for following SOPs laid out for functioning during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Restaurant owners have accused the authorities undertaking these checks of demanding for RT-PCR test results of waiters and staff while inspecting the establishments for following the standard operation procedures (SOPs). The restaurant owners said such a condition was not mentioned in the state’s guidelines.
The state SOP mentions thermal scanning of the restaurant staffers, while the Pune civic body’s circular underscores regular checking of the employees for Covid-19 symptoms.
When contacted, Pune Municipal Corporation commissioner Vikram Kumar clarified that the RT-PCR tests were not required for the restaurant staffers and waiters if they did not exhibit any symptom for the infection.
PRAHA vice-president Vikram Shetty told TOI, “It is nearly impossible to get an RT-PCR test done for all the restaurant staff. Each test costs Rs2,000. With a strength of 20-30 people at each restaurant, the total amount is huge. Officials checking the establishments are often insisting on the RT-PCR test results of the staffers after being shown their fitness certificates. In fact, we had an instance where a restaurant was told to get such tests done before the next inspection.”
Shetty added that if any of the staff exhibited flu-like symptoms, the restaurants would then definitely get their RT-PCR tests don, for the safety of the patrons and employees.
A doctor connected with Food Safety and Standards Authority of India said, “Employees at restaurants are being screened regularly. They are only required to undergo RT-PCR testing if they exhibit any symptoms.”
Ganesh Shetty, president, PRAHA, said, “Pulse oximeter and temperature checks of staff are being conducted regularly at restaurants. We have also undertaken medical fitness tests of the employees. The SOP]s do not mention RT-PCR tests for waiters anywhere.”
Shivajinagar MLA Siddharth Shirole also took up this issue with deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar at a meeting in Pune recently. “Hospitality industry has been one of the most affected industries during the pandemic. Such random diktats by the inspecting authorities should not hamper rebuilding the economy. I have take up the issue with the deputy CM,” he said.

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