An image which appears to be a circular by 'Ministry of Tourism' is being shared on social media with the claim that all hotels, restaurants and resorts in the country will be shut till October 15, 2020, due to COVID-19.
The circular has the image of the Ashok Stambh with the words "Ministry of Tourism, Government of India" written beside it.
"As order by the tourism govt. of India the information came that all tourism department of India. Hotels, restaurants, resorts all over India will remain closed til 15-october 2020 due to coronavirus disease spread all over the world. The order directly came from India tourism department. And most important north Indian hotels, resort, restaurants will closed till the date. If any incase found the case will filed on that owner. For more information login to indiantourism.org," reads the circular.
Our readers have asked us to verify the authenticity of the circular.
Ministry of Tourism has announced the closure of all restaurants, hotels and resorts till October 15.
The claim is false since the circular is fake.
The first thing that can be noticed about the circular is that it has spellings mistakes and grammatical errors.
Secondly, while the circular is seemingly from the Ministry of Tourism, it repeatedly states the "order came from Indian tourism department," which is unusual in a government announcement.
The website mentioned at the end of the advisory, 'indiatourism.org' directs to a page which says that the domain name may be for sale, which clearly is not the website intended in the circular.
The state-run Prasar Bharati News Services also clarified that the order being cited for the claim is completely fake.
"Reports claiming that hotels & restaurants will remain closed till Oct 15 owing to #COVID19 outbreak' are wrong. The order circulating in social media in this regard is FAKE and has not been issued by the Tourism Ministry.Govt has termed these reports as FAKE," reads their tweet.
Only those hotels which are catering to guests who were left stranded because of the lockdown are allowed to run, the others have been asked to shut down. Restaurants across the country have been asked to close their dine-in facilities.
Eateries, however, are allowed to operate food delivery functions as these come under essential services which have been allowed even under the current lockdown.
According to reports, restaurateurs fear that business will not bounce back in a hurry and people will socialize less in crowded restaurants.
According to the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), India's $50 billion restaurant industry is already set to lose an estimated $9 billion this year. This could potentially lead to the closure of a quarter of the nation's restaurants.
The large percentage of people employed in the informal economy who have no source of alternate income, restaurateurs opine that they are now looking to cut employment, shelve expansion plans and rework their business models to be able to cope, as sharp salary and job cuts in other sectors may set the customers' incomes back by years.
The NRAI has estimated than more than 1.5 million jobs will be lost in the restaurant sector amid the fallout.
The claim was debunked by Press Information Bureau's Fact Check Twitter account as well.
"Be cautious of #Fake order claiming that hotels/resturants will remain closed till 15th October 2020 due to #Coronavirusoutbreak," the agency wrote. "The order is fake and has NOT been issued by Ministry of Tourism," they wrote.