The government-imposed lockdown to prevent the spread of the coronavirus has shut off income for wedding halls and restaurants in Kabul, but owners of both said they are paying taxes to the government and also rent to property owners.
Kabul is in its fourth week of lockdown and it will continue for two more weeks, according to the latest announcement by the authorities. The owners of restaurants and wedding halls say they are losing thousands of Afghanis a day because of the lockdown. This will have a long-term impact on business, restaurant owners said.
According to figures by the union of restaurant owners, there are over 150 wedding halls and hundreds of restaurants in Kabul. All of them are closed.
Each wedding hall earned up to 200,000 (over $2,600) a day before the lockdown, according to the union. They are closed now but they are paying four types of taxes.
“There is a need for cooperation from the government and it should consider our problems,” said Mawlana Mohammad Paiman, deputy head of the union.
The lockdown has also left dozens of workers of the restaurants and wedding halls jobless.
“There are many challenges. Many people have lost their jobs,” said Ramiz Ahmad Noori, a restaurant waiter.
Some owners of small restaurants said they fear that they will not be able to resume their business after the lockdown ends.
“We have been damaged. We have to pay the rent. How can we resume our business?” asked Samim Sahib, owner of a restaurant in Kabul.
Besides the crisis created by the coronavirus, business owners said they are concerned about the continuation of the political rift between President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah that has yet to be solved.