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#LIVINGWITHCOVID: Of takeaway food, heavy discounts and masked delivery boys

Srinagar: “Apart from your formal uniform, a pair of hand gloves, face mask, and a bottle of hand sanitizer should be included in your dress code,” Sajad Ahmad Bhat, owner of Chew N Brew, instructs his staff after the administration allowed eatery shops to resume takeaway and home delivery services.

Chew N Brew is a mobile eatery van at the Wazir Bagh area in Srinagar. Its kitchen and packaging center is located at Jawahar Nagar. 

“Book your order and get it delivered at your doorsteps within an hour. We offer a 15% discount on an order of Rs 500 and above with free delivery. Regards Chew N Brew,” reads an SMS by Sajad after he resumed his takeaway services on June 8.

For the last three months, restaurant owners, shopkeepers, and online courier companies suffered huge losses due to the lockdown. 

However, in a major relief to  small and marginal businessmen, Srinagar district administration ordered to ease the lockdown albeit with precautions

“I faced enormous problems since 2016 when I started a mobile restaurant.  However, I did not lose hope. I earned the trust of my customers. However, this time the lockdown is different. People fear eating out because of the virus. With the result I lost my clientele,” Sajad told The Kashmir Monitor.

Sajad recently attended a workshop in Tagore hall where all the restaurant owners and other shopkeepers were given training on how to conduct business in a post-lockdown situation.

“I received many orders after people learned that we have started takeaway services. We are following all the guidelines and I have properly guided my staff to maintain hygiene while cooking food. The cooks and other staff are restricted to the kitchen. Delivery is done by other staff. In addition, face masks and sanitizers have been made available to all staffers,” Sajad said.

Delivery boys wear gloves and face mask besides use hand sanitizers during distribution.

Similarly, people associated with online courier services have heaved a sigh of relief after the relaxation. There are around 25 courier companies in Kashmir which are employing thousands of youth.

Post-COVID, the courier companies are sanitizing parcels before distribution. Companies are checking the temperature of staff twice a day. Besides, delivery agents have been provided with protective gear. In addition, the staff is working on a shift system to avoid the rush in the offices.

“We have resumed our services. Life has totally changed due to this virus outbreak. Despite the summer heat, we are wearing body gowns, face masks, and gloves. We keep hand sanitizer in our pockets and use it after delivering every order,” said Kamran, a delivery agent at Myntra logistics Lal Chowk.

Abid Ali Vice President, Courier and Cargo Services Association told The Kashmir Monitor that it is very difficult to revive the business again. “We have suffered losses of around Rs 500 crore since August 5,” he said.