Why another ‘lockdown’ will be ‘bad for business’?

The lockdown measures of 2020 is still an experience not long forgotten, and several local businesses are still struggling to bounce back from last year’s heavy brunt.

Meanwhile, the country’s capital Male’ City has gone under a pseudo-lockdown, which will become effective tomorrow, 26 May 2021, for a two-week duration.

Authorities announced extension on curfew hours from 16:00hrs until 08:00hrs of the following day. Additionally, locals are not allowed access outside during non-curfew hours without a valid residential pass.

Moreover, those requiring access to visit their workplaces, have to acquire permits from Ministry of Economic Development to do so.

Delivery services will remain effective, but under restrictive measures.

It may sound like a lockdown, though the official language may differ or attempt to say otherwise. However, the effects accompanying a lockdown will perhaps be all the same – much like last year.

Several small to medium tier businesses reported heavy financial losses in 2020, especially amid the lockdown duration. Meanwhile, businesses in food and beverages catering segment had faced daunting losses from which some are still attempting to recover.

While there is no denying that the surge in Covid-19 positive cases and multiple demises due to the viral contagion indeed requires extreme measures of safety and control, there is also the question of how the livelihoods of locals alter once again.

It almost feels like the ‘ordinary joes’ have become stuck in some sort of menacing ‘time-loop’ while their finances deplete.

Though the banks, backed by state initiative, offered various reliefs last year in the form of loan moratoriums and income allowances, such initiatives do not seem entirely the case in 2021.

Meanwhile, health authorities reported over 1,400 positive cases in the last 24-hour window while deaths related to Covid-19 have exceeded 140. No doubt the state will attempt to curb the situation, and work towards regressing the harrowing circumstances.

But the current situation may present some pressing circumstances for both large enterprises and small to medium tier businesses given the heightened amount of Covid-19 positive case numbers could reflect towards another stern restrictive measure becoming effective – which is already the case to an extent.

Though businesses in the food and beverage segment may have delivery or takeaway options, the loss of business in terms of sales revenue due to the complete cessation of dine-in will be paramount – which has become reflected on the financial portfolios of these companies.

On the other hand, the new curfew measures bar locals from heading out except for necessities and could mean a decline in trade transactions for local retailer shops providing general goods and items.

Economically speaking, it appears that the island nation may be readying to face similar circumstances, though less tumultuous that the previous year. However, there is no denying that the current condition, should it continue forth for a significant portion of time, would be bad for business – for everyone!