Small-time shops feel pandemic repercussions

Small time businesses expect to heal from the losses incurred during the second lockdown but they are already feeling the repercussions.

Owner of Passang Dolma Tamang from Babesa said the lockdown has caused loss to her business. “It has been only a few days since business resumed but there are very few customers as only from the zonal area visit the shop.”

“If this goes on for an extended period, we will have a difficult time as we need to pay house and shop rents.”

The shopkeeper said that they have been stocking up supplies from the wholesalers. “A few days back, I went to the wholesaler and bought the items but without a vehicle it was hard to move the supplies to the shop. However, for the past two to three days, vehicles have been allowed movement in their zones.”

Suraj, a salon owner said there are many customers coming for a haircut: “I can see hordes of customers waiting in queue just to get their hair done.”

He said business has been good days after the lockdown was lifted and that he hopes it will continue.

“There are some customers coming before the shop opens and I sometimes skip my lunch to meet their needs. More than 30 people visit a day,” he said.

Most of the shop owners however say it may take a long time before business picks up to the pre-COVID days.

An owner of a small restaurant said his savings were exhausted during the lockdown and even if the restaurant opens, he feels that he will get a limited number of customers.

“The house owner this time didn’t exempt the rents,” he said.

Meanwhile, vehicular movement has been allowed in the respective zones on an odd-even basis and the shopkeepers are looking forward for the movement of vehicles from other zones as well to stock goods for their shops.

Sonam Tashi from Thimphu