…until the Covid-19 situation improves

Entertainment centres such as drayangs, karaokes, and discotheques cannot operate until the Covid-19 situation in the country improves, according to economic affairs minister, Loknath Sharma.

In response to Tashichhoeling Member of Parliament (MP) Dil Maya Rai’s question at the National Assembly on June 4, Lyonpo said that reopening the centres in the current situation was impossible.

Citing that the livelihood of those involved in such businesses has been severely disrupted by the pandemic, the MP requested if the government could consider reopening the businesses with the implementation of strict protocols.

“People working in the entertainment business are facing hardships and cannot earn. They still have to pay rents as high as Nu 50,000 to Nu 80,000 monthly without any income,” said the MP, adding if the government had any plans to address the issue.

Lyonpo said that the main reason for not allowing entertainment centres to operate was to discourage gatherings. “Alcohol is an inseparable part in these places. Despite the stringent Covid-19 protocols, it won’t be easy to implement the rules in such places. Moreover,  we are seeing an increasing number of cases today.”

He said that majority of the people involved in the entertainment centres were recipients of His Majesty The King’s Relief Kidu and other measures including the loan deferment and interest waiver schemes. “Banks have been giving loans. The finance ministry has also notified the National Cottage and Small Industry Bank to provide capital bridging loans.”

Temporary measures such as exploring other avenues for these operators were also being considered, Lyonpo added.

By Thinley Namgay

Edited by Tshering Palden