Goa’s Chief Minister Dr. Pramod Sawant has once again extruded the ongoing state-level curfew till 14th June, 7 am. This is the third time CM had extended the Curfew in the state. Thousands of businesses and several thousand individuals have severely got affected by the decision of CM. How This curfew is affecting businesses and individuals? let’s take a look at this article.
In the new development the essential goods shops will now be allowed to remain open from 7 am to 3 pm and also the ambit of ‘essential goods’ has been expanded to include the stationery items, items for house/building repairs. As the rains have already arrived, the CM has included monsoon preparedness/protection items as essential.
It has been almost one month since the curfew began in the state, and most people are not pleased with the decision. Though there is evidence that the purpose of the curfew is fulfilled, there isn’t enough cause for people to celebrate. Even the decreasing positivity rate or the dwindling numbers in hospitals don’t seem to buoying anyone’s spirits. The problem lies when you zoom into this bigger picture, deep into the homes of people.
The Woe of Small Business Owners
Not unlike anywhere else in the country, it’s the small businesses and daily wage laborers that are bearing the brunt of the curfew. Most people of this segment don’t have the ability to save anything for a rainy day. They literally take life, and money, as it comes. Without any sort of backup in hand, most people are at a loss. And so are their businesses.
Shop owners with rented out shops are finding it very difficult to pay their rent, with little or no income coming in. With no end in sight to the curfew, they have no option but to continue to hold on to the shops, and the continued expenses it brings. The municipality-owned shops should at least offer a waiver of rent to such shops, that have had to be shut. The least the govt can do is to at least wave off the bills and taxes that are due.
The biggest concern for small shop owners or businesses are the loans they have taken, and the subsequent repayment of those loans. Irrespective of the profits or losses incurred, banks will of course demand their monthly installments. With most businesses being shut for an entire month, and maybe even more, if the curfew is extended again, repayment is going to be difficult.
To add fuel to the fire is the rising rates of commodities. Goa is entirely dependent on neighboring states for all essential goods. With the supply chain affected, the cost of day-to-day necessities like fruits and vegetables has been steadily increasing. Migrant workers with little to no employment have been struggling to make ends meet.
Tourism and the Allied Businesses
With an ongoing curfew, along with the insistence of a covid negative certificate, the state has ensured that tourists traveling to goa will be kept at bay. The huge influx of tourists, almost incomparable numbers to pre-covid times, brought with it a huge wave of covid cases as well. However, for a state like ours, that is hugely dependent on tourism, bringing down cases also meant bringing down income for the people, directly and indirectly, dependent on tourism.
Hotels, restaurants, bars, taxi operators, and other employees of this sector all face an uncertain future. Though restaurants are allowed to operate through take-away, not all of them find this to be especially beneficial. Fine-dining restaurants and restaurants of high-end resorts find no takers through the delivery systems. With no tourists, hotels and clubs wear a deserted look. Employees, if they haven’t been fired, now wait for dues that remain pending.
Most taxis have now doubled up as fruit and vegetable stalls. With no tourists to fill their seats, taxi drivers have replaced them with boxes of mangoes, and bananas, and wait along lonely roads for customers.
Of course, blaming any govt is the easiest thing to do. But even they can be helpless at times. Take the case for salons for instance. Curfew or not, the pandemic had slowly wrung the life out of them. How many of us would choose to go to a small salon, or parlor, to be pampered, when there are so many concerns of hygiene and very little chance of being socially distant from the salon assistant. As much as they declare all standards of hygiene, being stuck in a closed environment with another person can be scary to many people. Nothing can be done about such cases. The times are such, and we can only hope it changes as soon as possible.