Small and medium businesses, especially cafes and restaurants, are facing the worst crisis and are on the verge of bankruptcy due to COVID-19 pandemic
Small and medium businesses, especially cafes and restaurants, are facing the worst crisis and are on the verge of bankruptcy due to COVID-19 pandemic.
The Restaurant Association of Maldives (RAM) said that several cafes and restaurants will be driven to bankruptcy in the days following the holy month of Ramadan. Ramadan is said to begin on April 12.
He was speaking on the challenges faced by the restaurant service industry at the Parliament’s Economic Committee, according to Avas.mv newspaper.
Hussain Ismail, a member of the association, said small and medium businesses are operating at a loss due to the current restrictions implemented in the Greater Male Region in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He added that several establishments are unable to pay utility bills, rent, and staff salaries.
Hussain said over 40 percent of restaurants will be driven to bankruptcy if the current restrictions are maintained, which would, in turn, restrict opportunities for young entrepreneurs and destroy several home-based businesses.
Over 90 percent of businesses in the Greater Male Region are small and medium enterprises and the large percentage includes home cooks who prepare food items at home and sell them through local restaurants, Hussain was quoted by the newspaper.
Hussain added that though several concessions were made for the tourism industry, nothing was announced for the restaurant sector.
He urged the government to announce similar concessions for the restaurant sector for businesses to survive in the current pandemic.
Restaurants were forced to close at 8.30 pm for some time under stringent measures taken by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) to contain the spread of the coronavirus. They are now allowed to stay open until 10.30 pm.
The Director-General of Public Health, Maimoona Aboobakuru, when questioned by the Economic Committee regarding the decision to restrict service hours of restaurants and cafes, said that restaurants and cafes pose a bigger danger to the public compared to shops.
She said that most customers do not wear masks or practice social distancing when at restaurants.