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Restaurants, coffee shops bear the brunt of lockdown

17 Apr 2021 By ANIRBAN RAY

Night lockdown coupled with truncated business hours due to Ramadan is affecting restaurants and coffee shops. Most blue-collar workers too are in a fix. 

Eateries, not open during the day time, used to make brisk business in the evening. But this time around, all such opportunities have dried up with night-time lockdown being enforced at 9pm.

Shahzad Khan, who runs a coffee shop in Ruwi, said he is  facing serious problems because of the lockdown. 

“The entire day we cannot open. During Ramadan all activities usually start immediately after iftar. But now, with the closure of business at 9pm we hardly get time for any sales. It is also taxing on our workers. We are struggling to prepare iftars as well as regular food in a short period of time.”

As a solution now they start work very early in the morning, he said.

He added that though there is a rush in the evening, it is difficult to serve customers because he and his staff too need to break  fast and rush to serve simultaneously.

Mohammad, who sells grilled fish in Muttrah, said, “We start our work around 2. It’s mostlytakeaways. During previous Ramadans, we used to have people coming after iftar and sit for their dinners with grilled items but now we need to close everything by 8.30pm. It is tough.”

Robiullal Mohammad, a Bangladeshi blue-collar worker, said he is struggling to find a place to eat in the evening. 

“After a hard day’s work, I hardly get time to cook,” he said.  “With the night movement ban  and restaurants being closed, I’m in a dilemma. I’m too tired to cook.”

He added, “In previous years, restaurants used to function till late night. There was no problem finding food even after working and fasting all day. Things are different now. I think they should at least keep the takeaways open.” 

His friend Alam is diabetic and normally fasts for just a few days. But this year, he can’t because of difficulty in arranging food. 

“I used to fast for around ten days because of health issues, but this year I am not able to do that too in the fear of unavailability of food at night. I do my prayers only; I cook for my friends so that they can eat at night.” 

Most such workers either have their friends (even non-Muslims) who cook and keep a plate for them. Often when time permits, they too cook for themselves. Some even buy food in advance.

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