Panaji, July 2:  Even as COVID-19 cases have witnessed a drop over the last couple of weeks, Goa's bar and restaurant owners have urged the state government to allow them to restart their businesses, claiming "psychological distress" in their ranks due to the continued closure.

Along with casinos, restaurants and bars are not allowed to entertain guests, as per the COVID-19 norms enforced by the administration apparatus in both the districts of the coastal state.  Goa Government Promises Action Against Those Harassing Club Tito’s Promoters

"Our businesses have come to a standstill without any relief. Ours is the only business which is owned 90 per cent by Goans. Owners are desperate and are ready to rent out and even sell their ancestral business to anyone. No relief has been considered in any form for our business," the All Goa Bar and Restaurant Owners Association said in a representation to the Goa government on Friday.

Bars and restaurants were shut down in the coastal state in May after coronavirus cases witnessed a peak while the daily death rate due to COVID- 19 -related complications also witnessed an unprecedented high.

With the daily infection rate witnessing a dip, the list of restricted activities has been gradually relaxed since early June, but bars and restaurants continue to be barred from allowing guests on their premises. Restaurants and cafes have, however, been officially allowed to run their kitchens and cater to home deliveries of their goods.

The Association has now claimed that the continued closure has caused psychological distress amongst owners of bars and restaurants.

"We are ready to follow all SOPs imposed by the government. Why should we suffer the wrath of COVID-19? Since the positive cases and death rates have reduced, the government should consider opening of our business to avoid distress sale, closure and renting out to non-Goans," the Association said in their representation.

"Due to the closure of bars and restaurants all other subsidiary businesses of vegetable, meat, fruit, fish vendors, etc., are affected in the state. There is also psychological distress in the society," the Association also claimed.

Goa, a state known for its liberal excise regime has in excess of 10,000 licenced bars and restaurants.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jul 02, 2021 10:27 AM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website