U-turn on Restaurant and Café Closure Decision

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KUWAIT CITY, July 31:  Following widespread discontent and criticism from entrepreneurs and small medium enterprises, the decision to close restaurants and cafes at Al-Qurain Market, Al-Ardiya Industrial Area, and handicraft zones at 1 am has been officially revoked. The news comes after concerted efforts by various stakeholders to address the concerns raised by business owners.

The Parliamentary Business Environment and Small Enterprises Committee’s rapporteur, MP Hamad Al-Madlej, confirmed that fruitful coordination and agreement were achieved with the Ministers of Interior and Municipality to cancel the previous mandate. Instead, a new approach will be taken to safeguard the areas by installing security cameras to ensure public safety and preserve the commercial zones.

During today’s committee meeting, Al-Madlej elaborated on the successful negotiations with the Minister of Interior and the Manpower Authority. These discussions led to several proposed resolutions, which will be reviewed by the Economic Committee in the Council of Ministers, paving the way for their eventual approval.

This decision to cancel the earlier closure measure demonstrates the government’s responsiveness to the concerns of entrepreneurs and small business owners. By seeking collaborative solutions and considering alternative security measures, the authorities aim to strike a balance between public interests and the thriving business environment in the designated zones.

Ministry of Interior proposes revised closing times for shops in craft areas. Exceptions for shops with surveillance cameras or separate service doors. Concerns raised by entrepreneurs and owners of small projects about the previous decision to close shops after 1 am. Resolution sought to strike a balance between business interests and public safety.

On July 16, 2023, the municipality issued an administrative decision published in the Official Gazette (Kuwait Al-Youm) that outlines the working hours for commercial stores in coastal areas. As per the decision, stores in these areas are permitted to operate until one o’clock in the morning. However, stores with multiple entrances and a separate service door are only allowed to deliver orders and cannot conduct direct sales within the premises. Additionally, deliveries within the site boundaries, particularly in car parks, are not permitted, and all main doors must remain closed during this time.

Several small business owners have emphasized the crucial need for support and facilities to sustain their ventures, urging authorities to consider their challenges. The decision to halt commercial operations after one o’clock in the morning is causing concern among these entrepreneurs. While medium-sized restaurants may mitigate losses through delivery services, the impact is more severe on small restaurant owners. The compulsory closure conditions directly affect them as they heavily rely on direct sales from their sole outlet, the storefront.

Supporting small business owners is seen as an urgent necessity to promote economic diversification and reinvigorate the business environment. Their success plays a vital role in boosting the national economy and fostering a thriving entrepreneurial landscape.

This news has been read 3614 times!

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