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Fear grips bar owners

MOMPATI TLHANKANE
Some businesses fear closing as a result of the new ban on gatherings of more than 100 people PIC: PHATSIMO KAPENG
Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, in the next 30 days, some entertainment places like bars, restaurants and nightclubs will be hit hard after the government ordered a total suspension of public gatherings of more than 100 people.

Some of the popular bars and nightclubs around the country are known to attract large crowds, especially during months end where people drink their way to the next day. Although in Botswana on Wednesday, the time of writing there was no confirmed case of Coronavirus, there are fears that people might lose their jobs and some businesses close as a result of the new ban on gatherings of more than 100 people.

In an interview with Arts & Culture, local entrepreneur Mothusi Soloko who owns bars and restaurants in places such Gaborone, Thamaga and Mochudi indicated that 100 people are not enough to push the stock that can pay the bills.

“Everyone is under attack. This is going to hurt our businesses. But we all know it’s meant to save us,” he said.

Soloko was quick to reveal that for a bar to make money they need to push volumes and they do that by attracting big crowds. “This further means we cannot host performances at these places. So Arts will also suffer during this period and so are wholesalers,” he further

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revealed. Soloko said if the COVID-19 crisis blows over for some time, they will have to shut down have to shut down for a while for safety of their staff and customers. “Human life is more important than money. Obviously, this is natural disaster that requires all of us to carry the load.” While some businesses won’t be able to pay the rent as a result of the pandemic Soloko highlighted that landlords and staff should also take their fair share of the load.

“We are in this together. We also have to check our insurance policies in regards to natural disasters. I think insurance industry will be hard hit as well,” he concluded. Concerts and event owners have already accepted the reality and have since postponed their events. There will be so many economic effects of the pandemic in this sector because businesses might go into crisis and force closure that will then lead to sacking people. Once workers lose their jobs they will face eviction from the landlords and the chains goes on and on.



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