We don’t have a paywall for most of our stories on Coronavirus and its impact. Support us and subscribe here.
It was the emptiness that crushed them first. Once bustling and overflowing with people, Indian restaurants had started to go quiet. The regulars stopped showing up sometime early in March. The sound of friends talking over drinks, waiters moving in and out of the kitchen, the smell of cut vegetables and the whiff of alcohol had just started to fade into the coronavirus scare that has now engulfed the entire world.
With the sanitizers and disinfectants in place, there was still hope that diners would be back. Except they never did. Days passed, and the footfalls dropped by more than 30%. And before the restaurant companies could do anything, the decline snowballed into something they could not have fathomed—a