Updated: June 21, 2021 3:20 PM
Restaurant industry veteran Maz Shabdeen warns the industry will take years to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic (Photo provided)
A restaurateur with 31 years of experience in the industry predicted that it would take several years to regain the ground lost in the Covid-19 crisis.
Maz Shabdeen, which was forced to close its Dockyard restaurant at the start of the crisis, warned that even with businesses reopening, “it won’t be the same.”
He said, âIt’s going to be a fight for another three or four years. “
Mr Shabdeen added that some restaurants and bars had already announced their closure and others were “on the verge of closing”.
Mr. Shabdeen pointed out that Bully Social on Queen Street in Hamilton was a recent victim.
Mr Shabdeen said the pandemic was the worst crisis the hospitality industry had ever seen and had left the industry in tatters.
He added: âI hope it will come back. But it will not be the same industry.
He said: âEven if we open again, there are a lot of people out of work.
“Especially in this industry, the government did what it had to do with unemployment benefits, but everyone is in trouble.”
Mr Shabdeen, from Sri Lanka, said he had not been able to send money to his family there for more than six months.
He added: âThis week will be the first time. I’m lucky my wife has a job in the government – otherwise I’ll be in big trouble. “
Mr. Shabdeen has been a co-owner of The Anchor Restaurant, Bar and Lounge in the West End since 2016.
Dockyard, the home of the modern King’s Wharf, relies heavily on cruise ships – an industry that has also been hammered by the coronavirus.
Mr Shabdeen said his income had “stopped” since his restaurant had to close.
But he added that he was lucky enough to get another job to help him get back on his feet.
Mr. Shabdeen said: âBefore Anchor, I was a manager at Port O Call in Hamilton.
âNow I’m back there. I really appreciate that my old boss hired me back to keep me going.
Mr Shabdeen said he hopes to reopen the Anchor next month and hire new Bermudan employees.
He added: âI am a human person and the service industry appeals to me because there is a personal touch. It allowed me to continue.
âI tried to reopen, but it’s one of the hardest hit industries. It is not easy.”