The business community is unhappy and warning of protests as the Sindh government has once again imposed Covid-19 restrictions to prevent further spread of the Delta variant. The government’s decision comes at a very awkward time for businesses as they had only begun resuming their normal activities to make up for more than a year of losses that forced a large number of them to shut down completely.
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah chaired a meeting of the Corona Task Force for taking essential decisions on Friday. According to the Sindh government spokesperson, the Corona Task Force meeting has decided to close wedding halls, restaurants, educational institutes, and other celebrations from Monday across the province. At the same time, the shopping malls and markets will be open from 6am to 6pm. Groceries, bakeries, and pharmacies will remain open while the meeting also decided to close shrines across the province. Markets will also be closed two days a week, for which Friday and Sunday have been declared ‘safe days.’
According to Assad, a spokesman for the Restaurant Association, the government’s decision is highly unfair and unjustified. Asad said the restaurant industry has suffered from a loss of millions since March 2020. If the loss is estimated, including the business that was supposed to come, the industry has suffered from a loss of billions of rupees.
He made a heartfelt appeal to Prime Minister Imran Khan to stop treating the restaurant industry like a stepchild. “The government also takes advantage of the lack of unity in the restaurant association. We are not taken on board in meetings at the federal or provincial levels in closure decisions,” Assad said.
Athar, a representative of the Marriage Halls Association, told the Daily Times that the Association is deeply disappointed with the unjust decision of Sindh government. He said all the marriage halls were following Covid-19 SOPs, and the decision to close them would have made sense if the opening of the wedding halls had spread coronavirus. This is an injustice to thousands of employees and a loss of billions of rupees to the industry.
He said an emergency meeting has been called to work out a plan of action against the closure. We will peacefully protest against the decision. In the first phase, the protest will start from Karachi and will extend its scope to Sindh province and across the country, the association representative said. On the one hand, Athar said Prime Minister Imran Khan had promised to support small industries to strengthen the economy. Yet millions of business people, employees, and their families are being persecuted.