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How are businesses preparing for possible lockdown?

Arbin Lamichane, "We have survived previous lockdowns and hopefully, we will also survive the coming one"


Nepalnews
2022 Jan 15, 8:21,

Since the number of positive cases is gradually increasing in Nepal, there are high chances of the valley facing lockdown once again. Different businesses inside the valley were highly affected during past lockdowns.

Krishna Prasad Subedi, a grocer in Hiledole area
Krishna Prasad Subedi, a grocer in Hiledole area

Krishna Prasad Subedi, a grocer in Hiledole, said the lockdown was quite unpredictable and created a lot of problems in business. Subedi told Nepalnews, “We weren’t allowed to open shops at the beginning of lockdown. Later on, there was a schedule when we could open the shop but unfortunately, I had already gone to my village during that time. It was impossible for me to return back from the village as it was far and bus fares were also doubled during that period.”

"I haven’t thought of any plans for the upcoming lockdown, we will have to follow the rules and regulations of the government. Since groceries are one of the necessities, we hope the government will give us a certain time to open our shops. If not, we have to keep all those products in our room, where our regular customers can reach out to us."

Marshall Shrestha, the owner of Cafe de Garage
Marshall Shrestha, the owner of Cafe de Garage

Marshall Shrestha, the owner of Cafe de Garage, explained how his business was affected by the lockdown. Shrestha said, “I opened this cafe after the end of the first lockdown. After opening the cafe, we had to face another lockdown, which created even more problems in our business. We are still unable to pay our rent.”

Shrestha said, “Lockdown and coronavirus have become just like the aftershocks of an earthquake. In the beginning, everyone was scared of it but now, people don’t care at all as we can see people without masks in public. I hope there could be a smart lockdown where shops like this also get a chance to work following safety protocols. If it gets even worse, my lost option will be to sell this shop.”

Saroj Shah, a street vendor
Saroj Shah, a street vendor

Saroj Shah has been a street vendor for 10 years. Shah said, “Since there are a lot of rumors, it scares me whenever I hear of lockdown. We earn for a few days and there is a lockdown for 2 months. We are in a live-or-die situation“. I went to my village during the last lockdown as there was no source of income. I will do the same this time if a lockdown occurs, he added.

"We are tired of rushing. It will be good if some management can be done for us in the valley", Shah added, "I’m vaccinated, I have my vaccination card, so I think the government should allow us to keep our business by checking whether we are vaccinated or not."


Suman Maharjan, manager of heritage cafe,
Suman Maharjan, manager of heritage cafe,

Suman Maharjan, manager of heritage cafe, shares that during the first lockdown, the cafe was completely closed. "After we got the schedule to open, we started selling coffee. Slowly, as everything started getting normal, we also started providing takeaways. Even though the cafe lies in the heart of Basantapur, not many Nepali visitors enter the place because it looks expensive and appears to be fancier. Since the arrival of tourists has also decreased due to the pandemic, the cafe business has been highly affected.”

Maharjan also added, "As the situation was normal, we were appointing workers, staff and preparing plans on how to run the business, but since hearing about all the corona cases and lockdown possibilities, we will have to prepare another plan to deal with the lockdown."

"If the government announces a lockdown, we have to follow their rules and completely close the cafe, but if there is a smart lockdown, we can accommodate a certain number of customers using safety precautions. In that case, we have to seal our rooftop area and just open the dining room for the customers."

Arbin Lamichhane, the owner of Speed riders workshop
Arbin Lamichhane, the owner of Speed riders workshop

Arbin Lamichhane, the owner of Speed riders workshop, said that their work will never stop even during the lockdown. "It won’t be like a normal day but there is also no major effect. In previous lockdowns, we used to close the shutter and work inside the shop. All the workers are vaccinated over here and we are using safety precautions for sure”, Lamichhane added.

“Since it is a bike workshop and the number of bikes is huge in the valley, our business usually doesn't go down. We usually do home service in which our workers go to the customers' homes and fix the vehicles. This was usually done during the lockdown period. We know lockdown will occur at some point, but we haven’t thought about it that much. We will just see what happens. We have survived previous lockdowns and hopefully, we will also survive the coming one,” Lamichane said.


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