A trade association in Herat said Thursday that more than 36,000 shops and factories have been closed during the lockdown period in Herat province.
It has been about a month since restrictions on movement were imposed in Herat province to prevent the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Officials at the Herat trade association say the closures have meant the loss of millions of afghanis for owners and have caused thousands of workers to lose their jobs.
“About 35,000 to 36,000 shops in Herat are closed, and, unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs in Herat,” said Abdul Wadood Faizzada, head of the trade association.
“The closure of Herat means special economic problems in Afghanistan,” said Younus Qazizada, director of the Herat Chamber of Commerce and Industries.
Herat, in western Afghanistan, is the center of the coronavirus outbreak, and has the highest number of COVID-19 patients in Afghanistan. Of the 840 patients in the country, more than 350 are in Herat province.
A number of shop owners in Herat say they are facing economic difficulties with the closure of their shops and now they are unable to pay their shop’s rent.
“They have closed the shops, and this has created a lot of problems for us,” said Abdul Qadir Rahimi, one of the shopkeepers.
“If the store is closed, where can we find money or pay for the store rents?” said Yaser Akbari, another shopkeeper.
Herat's deputy governor Ghulam Daoud Hashimi says the government is cooperating with shopkeepers and owners of factories with taxes and rents.
Besides the closure of shops and factories in Herat, construction and development work has also stopped in the province.