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Mumbai: BMC allows 24×7 e-commerce, food delivery services


Mumbai city has permitted online food delivery and supply of essentials via e-commerce platforms round the clock and on all days of the week.

The new directive from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation reverses
a recent state government order restricting all such deliveries to between 7:00 am and 8:00 pm.

“All online home deliveries of food and essential supplies (e-commerce) through all online service providers like Zomato, Swiggy, etc., are allowed 24 hours on all days of the week,” according to the order by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai on Wednesday. “During the weekend lockdown, takeaway from hotels in person are not allowed; however, home deliveries are allowed.”

Mumbai is one of the largest markets for food delivery firms such as Zomato and Swiggy.

“We’re in touch and working with the state government as an industry to request extension on the timeline for completion of the RT-PCR tests, considering our large delivery partner universe in the state,” a Swiggy spokesperson said.

Swiggy had also requested the government to allow restaurants and delivery services to operate across the state beyond the 8:00 pm curfew.

“As an essential service, we’re also requesting them to consider extending the deadline for food delivery, including a grace period to allow our delivery partners to safely reach their homes after completing the last delivery,” the spokesperson added.

Zomato did not respond to ET’s queries till the time of publishing this story.

“This will not change the fortune of the industry, but it will go a long way in controlling the damage,” said Anurag Katriar, president of National Restaurant Association of India, an industry body.

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The NRAI has written to Maharashtra Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray seeking 24-hour delivery, categorising food delivery as an essential service, and requesting clarification on how to get delivery personnel vaccinated since 95% of them are under the age of 45 and are currently not eligible to be innoculated.

ET has seen a copy of the letter.

The NRAI had earlier expressed disappointment at the state government’s removal of food delivery and restaurants from the essential services list in its order of April 4.

“There’s still a long way to go. We need to get other cities in Maharashtra to allow us to run our services post 8:00 pm too,” an executive at a leading online food ordering company said. “We are hoping the Maharashtra government itself makes the change, as working with multiple stakeholders in each city is hard.”

Riyaaz Amlani, chief executive officer of Impresario Entertainment and Hospitality that runs restaurants such as Social, Saltwater Cafe and Smokehouse Deli, said the 24-hour extension will again make it viable to keep restaurants open.

“We are going to encourage customers to order directly from restaurants because the same people who bring food to your table will be delivering to your homes,” Amlani, whose group has 23 outlets in Mumbai, said. “We are awaiting similar directions for Navi Mumbai, Pune, and Nagpur as well.”

The state government has, however, not provided any leeway on the testing of non-delivery staff, as requested by e-commerce companies. “We are complying with the order and should get everyone tested in the next 2-3 days,” an executive at an e-commerce company said.

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