Coronavirus Pandemic Forces Recreational Businesses Shut Down In Kathmandu
By Phurpa Sherpa, KATHMANDU: To prevent the spread of coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic in the country, the government of Nepal has decided to shut down the night clubs, dance bars, gymnasiums, cinema halls, swimming pools, health clubs, stadiums, museums and other places of entertainment and recreation until April 30, 2020. And people have been advised not to visit any party palaces, temples, monasteries, masjids and churches with more than 25 in number.
Of late, more and more people were opting for outside fun in the lounges, bars and dance clubs rather than staying home in the evening. This trend was getting more common in Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal, which is also the largest financial hub of the country.
However, with the global outbreak of coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic, most of the countries around the world are going through a very hard time, and Nepal and its entertainment sector are also facing the brunt.
Different clubs in Thamel and other areas of Kathmandu have already started testing body temperature of customers with a laser thermometer. They are also providing hand sanitizers right at the entrance gate to their customers and to every staff member.
Just a few years back, the number of night clubs could be counted in fingers. They were mostly centered in Thamel, the largest tourist hub of Kathmandu, and used to lack variations in their services. Today, the number of night clubs are on a constant rise as per people’s demand and as never before, and they are bringing variations in their services, too. However, the outbreak of deadly coronavirus has drastically lowered the number of tourists visiting Nepal affecting the whole tourism sector and recreational businesses.
“We are in this business for the past two years. Our business was really booming and getting more popular,” said Shree Krishna Dotel, manager at the Senate Club. “Everyday, we used to get around 300 to 400 customers. We would get more crowded on Wednesday and Friday nights.”
“However, many people of the world are now going through a very hard time because of the coronavirus. The pandemic still had no impact on our customers visiting the club. Further, we were not less prepared to fight the virus, as we started keeping hand sanitizers at the entrance gate, some 10 days ago, for the customers and for every staff member,” Dotel said.
“We also ordered a laser thermometer (temperature gun) and staff members were suggested to wash their hands with hand wash every 15 minutes. Inside the club, customers were not allowed to wear paper masks or any mask for security reason.”
Dotel said they were more focused on cleanliness and sanitation, putting the AC on for all the time to keep the rooms clean and fresh. They would also suggest customers to wash their hands from time to time.
“Despite an abundance of caution, we were ready even to close our businesses for a couple of months if that would help stop the spread of coronavirus in Nepal,” Dotel said.
Likewise, Nabin Yonjan, a local resident, was not scared to visit night clubs even at this time of coronavirus pandemic. “When I visit the clubs, I wear mask and carry hand sanitizer with me and this makes me feel safe even at this time of a big health crisis,” Yonjan said.
Similarly, Manjit Thapa, yet another local resident, would visit various clubs twice or thrice a week and Fahrenheit Club, in particular, was one of his favorites. “This club provides good food and emphasizes on hygiene and cleanliness. Everything was well managed here, but now I have changed my mind because of the fear of coronavirus. I will not visit a club as frequently as before,” Thapa said.
According to Sudhir Shrestha, accountant at the Fahrenheit Club, the club had been providing sanitizer at the entrance gate and was planning to arrange a laser thermometer (temperature gun) as well.
“Customers were aware about coronavirus but would still love to visit our spacious club. If the government would make a policy to close all clubs, we would too close our club until there is no more threat of coronavirus. As of now, 400 to 500 customers were visiting our club on a regular day, while on Friday and Saturday, more than 500 customers would visit our club,” Shrestha said.
Now that a government decision has been in place to shutdown all the bars and nights clubs, these places of recreation and entertainment will not resume services until April 30, 2020, and probably beyond this date, too.
Published Date: Saturday, March 21st, 2020 | 03:36 PM