Small business owners in the city pray for an end to evening lockdown
The 5pm lockdown has impacted several small and mid level businesses in the city with mobile phone repair shops, shawarma stalls, fruit and vegetable shops, barber shops being among the affected. They are hoping that the movement ban will not be extended.
According to such business owners that Muscat Daily visited, their activities start in earnest in the evening when people finish work and are on their way home.
“Before people go home after finishing their office jobs they come and buy things or avail most of the services that are offered by us. I just hope that the authorities don’t extend the lockdown,” Majid al Tauqi, owner of a fruit and vegetable shop in Amerat, said.
K P Mathew who runs a mobile phones repair shop, said he is in a dilemma now as most of his customers come less than one hour before 5pm but need their work done.
“Sometimes it takes time, ranging from 30 minutes to a few hours, it is best when they leave the phones and come aback after some work. With the lockdown this is very tough. People need to rush back home and also they cannot come in the morning due to their work pressure,” he said.
Barber shops too do much of their businesses in the evenings.
“Before the lockdown, most of the customers came in the evenings. In the past few days, I have mostly been sitting idle the whole day with just a few people who walk in during the day,” Zaheer Khan, a barber in Ruwi, said.
The closure of business activities in the evening is also affecting the way people enjoy evening bites. As shawarmas taste best in evenings, assured by the stall owners selling them in Qurm, their businesses too have been affected.
“Our businesses used to start as the sun set. Shawarmas are often eaten as snacks as well as dinner. Most of our customers are often office people and prefer to pass by in the evening to have a bite or even have shawarmas as dinner. But, these past days have been dull because very few people like to have them during the day,” Mohammad Rafiq, a shawarma maker in Qurm, said.
Not only the businesses but also the customers are affected.
“I am always so busy with my office work during the day and the only time I get to go to the barber shop or for buying fresh fruits and vegetables is after my office timings. These days have been so uncomfortable for me. I just wish things get back to normal soon,” Omar Abdullah, an Azaiba resident, said.
The lockdown that runs from 5pm to 4am will continue until July 31. During this period, people are not permitted to move outside their homes, while commercial activities are prohibited.
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