During the question and answer session at the parliament on Friday, Economic Affairs Minister Loknath Sharma mentioned that it is very difficult to say when the entertainment outlets will open in the country.
The Member of Parliament (MP) from Tashichhoeling constituency, Dil Maya Rai, asked the minister to brief the house regarding the plans and activities that are in place to address the problems confronted by those operating and working in the entertainment outlets
According to the MP, following the closure of entertainment houses, those individuals have been facing great hardships and are unable to make revenue. In order to improve their livelihood, one of the measures to tackle the issue would be to re-open those entertainment houses provided that they strictly adhere to the COVID-19 protocols.
Responding to the question from the MP, Lyonpo Loknath Sharma said since the entertainment outlets are places for public gathering with enclosed rooms and how much stringent the COVID-19 protocols are imposed, people will not be able to follow them since most will be drunk.
The minister said that since the Covid-19 cases are increasing daily, it is not possible to reopen the entertainment outlets in the country. It may open when the second dose of the vaccination is administered.
However, Lyonpo said that it is very difficult to say that it will open at a particular time.
The minister said that most of the Kidu recipients are employees of the entertainment outlets. The government has also deferred the renewal of licenses for them and also they are given working capital loans. The government will also support them if they want to shift to other businesses and if they can run other businesses since they already have a bar license.
To reopen the entertainment outlets, the government has made new requirements for operating such a business.
The new requirements required are kitchen, smoking room, two doors (exit and entry), separate dressing room for male and female, put a stop to the request system and introduce entry fee.
Lyonpo mentioned that Drayangs business needs to reform and it cannot run as usual like before. The government is reforming the strategy of the business and discussing with Drayang associations.
With the new requirements, 24 drayangs do not fulfill the requirements and are not feasible to reopen and only 29 Drayangs are fulfilling the requirements of the government.
There are around 493 entertainment outlets in the country.
Dechen Dolkar from Thimphu