Saturday, October 31, 2020

Govt order to close businesses in Covid-hit Yangon for two weeks likely to cause financial difficulties

Sep 23. 2020
Part of Yangon city seen on September 21 after the stay-at-home order
Part of Yangon city seen on September 21 after the stay-at-home order
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By THIHA AUNG, NAY WIN HTET AND MYO HTET PAING
Eleven Media/ANN

As some businesses in Yangon city need to halt operation after the government’s announcement on a strict stay-at-home order, it will trigger financial woes and difficult living conditions, some local sources say.

Since the order was announced at 8 pm on September 21, some shops and businesses in the city have closed while some others remain open.

The construction sites will also stop their operation for two weeks, so daily-wage workers including construction workers are expressing their concern over financial problems.

“Construction workers are daily-wage earners. We have about 200 workers. They (the company) will stop for two weeks. Construction workers are usually hired through a contractor. Some contractors pay workers for the whole project. But most pay them daily. When the site stops operation, they will not earn at all. The first wave of Covid-19 coincided with the Thingyan holidays. At that time, workers returned to their native places. So they didn’t face much difficulty. But now they cannot go back. They will be able to brace for at least three or four days. With longer days, they will be facing many difficulties,” said a staff member from a construction site in Yangon on condition of anonymity. 

City taxi drivers are also facing financial problems few people go around after the stay-at-home order.

“I have been outside since early morning. Till 12 noon, I have not had a passenger. I cannot find passengers. The disease outbreak is going on. I don’t think people will go outside due to the stay-at-home order. If this dire situation continues, it will be a great blow to us,” said a cab driver.

According to the order, all shops except those selling food and medicines in the stay-at-home townships will have to close for two weeks.

“Our shops can run today. But as of tomorrow, we have to close two weeks. Market officials told us. We will not earn if we have to close many days. With no earnings, we will be facing financial problems. We have to think a lot how we will continue to survive, said a shopkeeper at Thuwunna Market in Thingangyun Township.

As Covid-19 cases increase, the Ministry of Health and Sports imposed the stay-at-home order in all the townships of Yangon Region except Coco Island Township on September 20.    

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