This year’s National Day and the Liberation Day holidays were not as merry as they usually are, especially for restaurants, which consider February as their blossom season, reports Al-Rai daily. Because of the recently imposed restrictions on restaurants due to the health concerns which limit their services to only take-away and delivery services, this year’s National Days celebrations were harsh on businesses. An official in charge of a store located on Sha’ara Mata‘am (Restaurant Street) in Salmiya area explained that the commercial movement has decreased by more than 50 percent.
Earlier, when a customer used to enter the store to order, he would end up ordering other things that he spotted inside the restaurant. However, with the current decision to prevent the entry of customers, the sale movement is based only on what the customer requests. So the difference is big between the current movement and the sale movement during the same period last year.
From Salmiya to Hawally, the situation did not differ in terms of the sales movement of restaurants during this period that the restaurant owners await annually
Executive Director of Al-Muhaisin Group and the owner of Al-Muhaisen Palace Restaurant Osama Al Muhaisen said this period was the worst for not only them but for all restaurants because of the decisions taken to limit the spread of COVID-19 virus.
He said he hopes the government’s decision to take such measures will be clear regarding its expiry date, because all of their hospitality workers are currently working in the ordering service, and the company needs to develop a specific strategy to reduce losses.
The situation of restaurants in Sharq area did not differ from that in Salmiya or Hawally, as their sales movement during these days did not reach 15 percent of its strength compared to the same period last year. General Manager of Mughal Mahal Restaurant in Sharq area Sushil Kumar, who has been working in this restaurant for 26 years, explained that the decision to prevent dine-in service inside the restaurant has affected their work significantly. They understand the reasons behind the government’s decision which is mainly to protect people from COVID-19 virus.
However, educating people about the necessity of social distancing and the use of masks and sanitizers would be more useful and would help businesses move forward with their work. He said, “We depend on these holidays a great deal. Such decisions have caused a great loss for us, which will cause the inability to pay labor wages or rents. We welcome precautionary decisions, as the pandemic does not have a specific expiry date, and we have to live with it”.
Furthermore, the owner of a major restaurant that was established more than 30 years ago, and has many branches and more than 500 employees working in it, said they welcome all the health precautionary decisions taken by the Kuwait government to limit the effects of the pandemic, “but this does not mean that we shut down our economy”.
He said his speech is not related to the work of restaurants only, but in all sectors, adding, “It is necessary to work on teaching citizens and residents how to protect themselves and their country from this disease because this pandemic has no specific validity date and we have to live with it and adapt to its effects”.
He indicated that his business sector has been affected as it is in the field of hospitality, but there are other shops in several sectors that have also been affected, adding, “All these private sectors form one circle and if one of them is affected, the rest will be affected as well which will in turn affect the citizens and residents alike”. In addition, the owner of a major restaurant in the country asked, “What is the fault of the restaurant owners and merchants that they have to bear the mistakes of some who do not abide by the health precautionary conditions”.
He demanded a decisive decision be taken against those who are not committed to the quarantine measures and contribute to transmitting the infection to others. He said he believes the decision taken in terms of the restaurants was not fair, as the restaurants did not record any COVID-19 cases because they take all measures including social distancing, use of sanitizers, requiring everyone to wear masks, and keeping the tables clean continuously. He stressed that they have large monthly obligations in terms of payment of rents and salaries for their employees.