States across India have started phase-wise unlocking post the decline in COVID-19 cases in the ongoing 2nd wave of the pandemic. For instance, with COVID cases declining to a 3-month low, West Bengal has relaxed restrictions, extending the timing of restaurants and bars with 50% seating capacity. Similarly, in its 3rd phase of unlocking, Delhi has lifted restrictions from almost all economic activities like restaurants, malls and markets and so as Maharashtra.
With all these risks inherent in spaces like malls, restaurants and people’s homes, LocalCircles conducted a survey to understand what people plan to do in terms of their visits to malls and restaurants. With lockdown in place for 45-60 days and the unlocking just beginning, it also attempted to understand the kind of visitors people expect to have over at their home in the next 30 days. The survey received over 34,000 responses from citizens residing in over 314 districts of India.
According to the survey, 31% citizens plan to visit a restaurant to have a meal in the next 60 days.
As we all know that restaurants were amongst the first non-essential public places to open post-unlocking that began in September 2020. Citizens had become comfortable dining at restaurants as the number of cases kept declining till February 2021. With cases beginning to rise in March this year, most states imposed lockdowns and restaurants were shut for most of April and May. This month, some states have allowed restaurants to reopen with limited capacity after seeing a decline in COVID cases. The first question in the survey asked citizens if they would be visiting restaurants if they start to operate in the next 60 days.
The survey response also claimed that, 18% said, “yes will go once”, and 13% said “yes will go multiple times.” 53% citizens said they won’t visit a restaurant in the next 60 days. 8% said “not applicable”, and another 8% did not have an opinion.
The survey was done based on 9,038 responses that Local Circles received in an online survey.
The survey also mentioned that the first case study of how COVID spreads in indoor spaces was that of a restaurant in China and indicated how the SARS-COV2 virus can easily spread in an indoor restaurant with people dining due to indoor air and no outside air ventilation. Air-conditioned restaurants in most parts of India do not have the infrastructure currently to recirculate indoor air several times an hour making them vulnerable spaces for COVID spread. Even those restaurants that are non-air-conditioned have a risk of spread as diners take their masks off while consuming food.