Business owners are worried about the economic impact of a possible extension of the countrywide lockdown aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Speculations are rife over the 45 days lockdown, which is to expire on May 17, 

could be extended as the country’s coronavirus cases have surged recently. 

Shena Tarawally, a businessman, said: “if the government happens to extend the state of emergency (lockdown) it will be like killing us and burying us. Even this lockdown that was implemented has damaged all of our businesses.”

According to him, since the start of the state of emergency “we have never received any support from the government.

“The government should have helped us, (and allowed) us to open our shops early in the morning up to 4:00pm, which would have been better. Government’s decision on opening and closing of shops does not favour our businesses.”

Nderri Jallow, also a businessman, said: “our business is already deeply affected, so if the government should extend the state of emergency that will damage us totally. Currently I have huge debts to pay which includes shop rent, payment of my staff and others.”

Mr Jallow also lamented about the stipulated time for operation for businesses amid the coronavirus from 2pm to 6pm as very limited “because many of the customers do shopping in the morning because is more favourable  especially in Ramadan.

“We the fabric traders have only two months in the whole year which is the month of Koriteh and Tobaski and this year’s Koriteh is already a loss due to this pandemic.” 

He urged the government “not to extend the state of emergency but rather give them a specific number of buyers in a shop and allowed the shops to open 24hrs.”

Malick Cham and Isatou Faal, and dozens of other business owners echoed similar sentiments as they pleaded with the government to look into their plights.

Reporting by Adama Makasuba 

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