ISLAMABAD: Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) President Muhammad Ahmed Waheed has urged the government to allow restaurants, marquees and wedding halls in Islamabad to restart their operations.
“Due to the prolonged lockdown, these businesses are on the verge of collapse,” the ICCI president said in a statement issued on Saturday.
In order to combat the spread of Covid-19, he informed, the government had closed restaurants, marquees and wedding halls in Islamabad during the 2nd week of March. As a result, he added, thousands of workers have lost their jobs, while businesses were now faced with an extreme financial crisis.
He said there was no doubt that Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat was doing a great job in controlling the pandemic in Islamabad, but “he should also take up the issue of opening of businesses with higher authorities”.
Waheed said that restaurants, marquees and wedding halls were playing an important role in generating economic activities, as many other businesses were linked with this industry. These included meat sellers, poultry farmers, jewellers, fashion designers, florists, carpenters, crockery suppliers, tent services, waiter suppliers, wedding bands, valet staff, lighting and generator suppliers etc.
“Despite the Covid-19 closure, these businesses are being made to pay rents, wages and utility bills, which is further adding to their financial problems,” the ICCI president said. “When other businesses have been opened with SOPs, restaurants, marquees and wedding halls should also be reopened; owners are ready to comply with laid out SOPs.”
Waheed urged the government to allow restaurants, marquees and wedding halls to pay their utility bills in 3-4 monthly instalments. He also called for the announcement of a relief package for Covid affected businesses.