Night curfew from 7pm leaves traders, restaurateurs in Ludhiana sleepless
Give thumbs down to govt’s decision amid already mounting losses due to the lockdown.Updated: Aug 21, 2020, 23:12 IST
Already reeling under losses due to low footfall amid the Covid-19 pandemic and the weekend lockdown, traders, gym owners and the hospitality sector are worried over the Punjab government’s decision to impose stricter night curfew between 7pm and 5am.
While traders rue that the decision will dent their efforts to make up for the losses suffered during the lockdown, hotel and restaurant owners claim they may be forced to shut down their establishments. They have sought relief in the night curfew norms to keep their businesses afloat.
“Hoteliers are already receiving tepid response due to Covid-19 and now the restaurant business will also be affected at large,” said Amarjit Singh, executive member of the Ludhiana Hotel and Restaurants Association.
“To adhere to the curfew starting at 7pm, owners have to close their establishments by 6pm. The government has allowed us to serve drinks in the restaurants, but who will come to enjoy drinks or have dinner by 6pm? The footfall was less than 5% on Friday,” he added.
Proprietor of Bistro Flamme Bois, Pakhowal Road, Vishal Malhotra said, “More patrons had started coming in after the government allowed restaurants to remain open till 10pm. But, the new curfew timings in no time again will take a toll on the already shaky business. We have been receiving only around 35% footfall post lockdown.”
TRADERS IN SAME BOAT
Traders have also sought that they be allowed to keep their shops open longer and the lockdown restrictions on Saturday be lifted.
“Our business has already dropped by 50%. With increased curfew hours, even fewer customers will come in. We started closing shops around 6pm on Friday as there was less than quarter of the usual footfall,” said Parampal Singh Witty, president of Chaura Bazaar Shopkeepers Association, adding that the government should allow the shops to remain open till at least 8pm.
GYM OWNERS SWEATING
Gyms are the worst affected as they had reopened only on August 5 after keeping their operations suspended for over four months.
Struggling to tide over their losses, they said curfew starting at 7pm will derail their efforts as most customers visit gyms in the evening after work.
Director of Gym Ekta Welfare Association, Ramesh Bangar said, “Customers are anyway few and far between due to risk of infection. Many gyms are on the brink of closure due to low footfall and hefty operating costs involving rent, electricity bills and salaries.”
“Most fitness enthusiasts visit gyms after 7pm, so how can gyms survive with the advanced night curfew? Residents need to take precautions in view of the rising Covid-19 cases, but the government should also allow businesses to remain open till 9 or 10pm,” he added.