After the first week of the partial curfew to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, two economists affirm that malls, restaurants and cafes are among those most affected by these measures, with losses amounting to hundreds of millions of dinars, reports Al-Anba daily.
They stressed that restaurants, cafes and malls have been committed to health requirements to prevent the spread of the virus, and are not responsible for the recent rapid increase in COVID-19 cases.
In two separate press statements, the economists insisted that the main reason for the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Kuwait is the gatherings in diwaniyas, weddings and funerals, and not the markets, commercial complexes and restaurants due to the general economic and social implications.
They stressed that the partial curfew has negative effects on small and large companies and restaurants alike, as most companies are currently suffering from financial deficits and large debts due to the repeated periods of embargoes and closures, which will have major negative effects on the national economy in general.
The CEO of Al-Mabani Company Walid Al-Shuraia’an said, “The year 2020 was an economic tragedy for all countries of the world without exception. All eyes were on the year 2021 to be better than 2020 with the hope that the agony will gradually disappear.
“Everyone supports the application of health requirements, which can help overcome this crisis. However, the government must balance between the implementation of the health requirements and the preservation of economic conditions, so that the health side does not overwhelm the economic side, which has become the biggest victim of this crisis.
“Why does the government deviate from the real causes of the crisis, which are social reasons caused by gatherings in diwaniyas, weddings, and funerals, even though these reasons will not cost the state anything? It still insists on closing the markets, complexes and commercial activities, which has resulted in losses estimated at millions of dinars, not to mention its negative social impact on many citizens and residents.
“The government should have monitored weddings and diwaniyas through work teams in each region. Citations should have been issued against restaurants and shops that do not adhere to the health measures. Most restaurants have proven during the last period that they adhere to the health requirements set by the Kuwait Municipality, as evidenced by the fact that there were no violations”.
Al-Shuraia’an said the partial curfew has negative effects on small and large companies alike, as most companies are currently suffering from financial deficit and large debts due to the repeated periods of closure, which will have major negative effects on the local economy. He highlighted that the treatment of the crisis does not have to be by applying curfews.
Head of the Kuwait Union of Restaurants, Cafes and Catering Fahad Al-Arbash said the partial curfew currently in force in the country will paralyze the economic movement in general, as well as harm the interests of the owners of small, medium and even large enterprises, especially since it extends for 12 continuous hours.
He stressed that all economic activities will be negatively affected by the current curfew, especially since life begins in Kuwait after 5:00 pm when citizens and residents normally go out after the end of work, adding that applying the curfew at this time will lead to a complete paralysis of both economic and social life.
Al-Arbash indicated that restaurants and cafes are among the largest important economic sectors affected by the curfew, as there are restaurants that have been completely affected and a large number of cafes stopped working completely more than a year ago due to their inability to settle their financial liabilities.
He emphasized that the malls, commercial markets and restaurants cannot be accused of transmitting infection and diseases, indicating that the government knows with certainty that the main reason behind the recent spike in cases is the gatherings in diwaniyas and weddings, but the government has chosen to punish everyone through such a ban instead of applying the law on the main culprits.
He added that favoritism should not have any place when it comes to human health, as implementing the law and taking the most severe penalties against violators is the best solution in this case. Al-Arbash called on the government to reconsider the partial curfew decision, or at least allow restaurants to deliver orders to citizens and residents, in addition to workers in the front-lines, nursing staff and other groups that will work during the curfew period, which extends for 12 continuous hours.