Marriage halls bear Rs3.6bn in losses amid lockdown

While all industries have suffered losses amid sudden lockdown after the pandemic grew to serious proportions, the restrictions have dealt a heavy blow to marriage and banquet hall owners.

During the 24 day-long lockdown in Sindh, the event venue owners have suffered losses of approximately Rs3.6 billion due to unannounced closure of social gatherings until an indefinite period of time.

Earlier the National Security Committee and Sindh government had announced the closure till three weeks, which has now been extended indefinitely until the situation improves.

Sindh tally for coronavirus is hitting 1668 out of the national tally of over 6000 identified cases and over 110 deaths nationwide due to the virus outbreak. While the venue owners followed the government’s orders of closure, families insisted on holding their events on time switching to informal venues like their homes or empty grounds in the city.

Associated businesses like venue decorators and caterers also received cancellations calls or were asked to deliver food at other locations. Employees of marriage and banquet halls which stand around 50,000 in number also suffered financially, many losing jobs or facing delays in salary disbursement still.

According to the decision of All Karachi Marriage Halls Banquet Association, the marriage hall owners had reportedly decided to refund all the advance payments they had earlier received for marriage ceremonies that had been scheduled until April 5.

President of the association Rana Raees Ahmed replied, “Health is wealth. The virus is damaging businesses across the world, what can we do about it,” when asked if payment refunds would cause the owners financial loss.

He mentioned that anyone who wanted to reschedule their events would have to pay according to revised rates after Ramazan.

Some owners have returned advance payments while other were reluctant to do that according to people who had bookings.