Urgent SOS by Covid-hit firms

DESPERATE owners and staff members of gyms, travel agencies and companies operating religious pilgrimages have called for additional government support and more relaxed measures to be introduced to help save their businesses hit by the Covid-19 crackdown.

Representatives from negatively-impacted sectors in Bahrain made their plea to MPs during a webinar, saying there was an urgent need of assistance.

Training institutions and domestic workforce providers also voiced their concerns during the event organised by MP Ebrahim Al Nafa.

“The impact we are suffering is massive,” said Al Mawasem for Haj and Umrah owner Jassim Abul.

“We are struggling with 100 per cent losses and our operations – which have stopped since February – are expected to remain closed until the end of the year.


“That means almost 10 months of no income while also shouldering large operational costs for our offices, salaries and commitments, as Haj covers our expenses for the entire year, while Umrah is seasonal.

“Due to the pandemic, the situation in Mecca and the disruption to flights, our business has completely stopped and we need attention and support that matches our struggles.”

He said that around 60 religious tour operators across Bahrain were suffering a similar plight and he was worried they may miss out as their commercial registrations were registered under the Justice, Islamic Affairs and Endowments Ministry and not the Industry, Commerce and Tourism Ministry.

Bahrain Society of the Private Training Institutes chairman Nawaf Al Jishi stressed the importance of allowing institutes to resume training while implementing precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

“Bahrain has taken pioneering action in combating this pandemic on a regional and international level but some sectors have suffered a lot more than others,” he said.

“Training institutes have stopped as part of precautionary measures since February and we have high operational costs.

“We are employing around 1,500 Bahrainis, so that is 1,500 families that depend on this sector for their livelihood.

“We are struggling under high operational costs – which can reach BD7,000 – and rents.


“We need support and permission to reopen as long as precautionary measures are implemented.”

His sentiments were shared by Mona Al Fadhala who added that although salons and barber shops were recently allowed to reopen, under strict guidelines, there was still a fear among many customers and businesses were still struggling.

MP Mohammed Buhamood supported the calls.

“We’re at a critical point and we need the government to immediately take action and replenish these sectors, otherwise there will be lines of unemployed Bahrainis,” he said.

“That would be a catastrophe.”

As reported by the GDN, in line with royal directives, the government has decided to take additional stimulus measures following consultation with the legislative authority and the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry.


Source: http://www.gdnonline.com/Details/836747/Urgent-SOS-by-Covid-hit-firms


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