ICCI urges for reopening of restaurants, marquees in Islamabad

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Islamabad:     Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) President Ahmed Waheed has called upon the government to allow restaurants, marquees and wedding halls in Islamabad to reopen their business activities as due to long lockdown, these businesses were on the verge of collapse.
The ICCI president said that to combat spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, restaurants, marquees and wedding halls in Islamabad were closed in the 2nd week of March 2020 on a short notice due to which thousands of workers have lost their jobs while these businesses were now facing extreme financial crisis.
He said that Deputy Commissioner Islamabad Hamza Shafqaat was doing a great job in controlling the Covid-19 pandemic, however, he added that he should also take up the issue of opening these businesses with higher authorities.
Ahmed Waheed said that restaurants, marquees and wedding halls were playing important role in generating economic activities as business of many other sectors was linked with this industry.
However, due to closure of restaurants, marquees and wedding halls, many other allied businesses including meat, poultry, jewelers, bridal clothing, florist, furniture, crockery suppliers, tent services, waiter suppliers, wedding bands, valet staff, lighting and generator suppliers were also suffering losses.
He said that despite closure, these businesses have to made routine expenditures including payment of rent, wages of staff and utility bills due to lockdown, but keeping them closed was adding to their financial problems.
He said that when other businesses have been opened with SOPs, restaurants, marquees and wedding halls should also be reopened as their owners were ready to operate their businesses in compliance with laid out SOPs.
He said that these businesses were also contributing towards tax revenue and government would also lose tax revenue by keeping them closed. He further said that government should allow restaurants, marquees and wedding halls to pay their utility bills in 3-4 monthly instalments.
ICCI President stressed that government should announce a relief package for these businesses so that they could revive their business activity.
He said that these businesses were much safer as they have lot of space and could maintain social distancing.
The owners of these businesses were ready to take all precautionary measures for the safety of their customers and workers, therefore, he urged that government should give them a date for reopening so that they could start future bookings.