Local traders ‘extremely pessimistic’ amid current pandemic outbreak

Local traders told the Macau News Agency that they had suffered heavy losses and felt “extremely pessimistic” under the shadow cast by the new pandemic outbreak and strict coronavirus prevention measures. pandemic while revealing that the government’s latest pandemic relief plan had given little relief.

The SAR government has ordered the closure of entertainment, sports and leisure venues since last Thursday, while restaurants and drinking places are prohibited from providing on-site catering services, only services take-out being authorized in order to reduce the risk of a pandemic.

After the restrictions were imposed in the city, local businesses consulted by the MNA revealed the negative business conditions they were facing and hoped the government would provide more direct economic support measures.

A local restaurant owner, Mr. Yun, told MNA that his restaurant’s turnover in Taipa dropped by 80 percent during the pandemic outbreak this time, causing serious losses to his business.

“The government’s epidemic prevention measures have had a significant impact on us,” Yun said, “no catering is allowed now, I lowered the price of a fixed meal to MOP0, but no one would still come and buy meals”.

The restaurant owner said expenses such as rent and employee salaries should still be paid as usual, even though the operational situation of the business is difficult, with the monthly rent for his restaurant being around 120 000 MOPs.

Due to the uncertain evolution of the local epidemic, the restaurateur said he was “extremely pessimistic”, adding that the government has proposed economic support measures of 10 billion MOP which will have little effect on the results of the local SMEs.

The SAR government has announced that it will provide seven pandemic relief measures totaling MOP 10 billion to businesses and residents to help them overcome the impact of the new pandemic outbreak in the community.

The package of seven measures includes property tax relief for businesses, fuel subsidies for the taxi industry, reimbursement of the annual vehicle registration fee, waiver or reduction of application fees, support to self-employed professionals and businesses, a reduction in tourist tax and an interest subsidy. business loan scheme.

“The economic aid of MOP 10 billion is just a number,” Mr. Yun said, “local SMEs do not get much aid, and even though we were interested in applying, the application process is very difficult.”

Clothing store owner Ms Chan also told MNA that her turnover was “almost zero” and that the SAR government should provide more direct assistance.

“Although our store is still open, there are hardly any customers now,” the owner said, “we only see two or three customers a day, and they look around and leave without buying anything. “

Billy HC Kwok/Bloomberg

She estimated that her business would lose between MOP 50,000 and 60,000 this month, adding that she hopes the government can help local SMEs more directly through this period.

“The government can distribute money directly to local SMEs or reduce the rent to allow us to survive this month […] In fact, I don’t know how the seven economic relief measures would help us because few details are released yet, so it’s still a question mark for me,” Ms. Chan added.

Meanwhile, the store owner said she had been running her business for more than 20 years, with the worst operating conditions since the pandemic began in three years and the worst she can remember.

“Business is so bad that I don’t know how to find a word to describe the situation, we have never faced such pressure,” she said.

“If the pandemic outbreak this time is not so bad, maybe there is some hope, but now it’s really a dead end for us,”

As of today (Monday), the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases linked to this outbreak has risen to 357, with most public areas and restaurants remaining closed as required by the government.

A pastry shop owner, Maggie Yim, told MNA that they provide free delivery services to attract more customers.

Her pastry shop is located near the famous tourist attraction site, the Ruins of St. Paul, and she noted that the dwindling number of tourists has resulted in a huge loss of customers for her business.

The patisserie owner also said she had little interest in knowing the details of the seven economic relief measures, as she had applied for a similar scheme before but had been turned down.

“The reason they gave me for the denial was that they thought my business was not under financial pressure, but in fact I have no money to pay the salary after paying the rent “, she added.

“Now I have the impression that these economic support measures announced by the government do not help our SMEs at all, they have in fact nothing to do with us”

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