Roadside vendors in Ooty support restrictions on tourist arrivals, but seek financial support

As tourist spots have been closed in Niligiris, roadside vendors have no business   | Photo Credit: SATHYAMOORTHY M

Small businesses dependent on the tourism industry have borne the brunt of the new restrictions introduced to combat COVID-19 in the Nilgiris.

While all businesses have been impacted by the new restrictions, these small businesses, usually selling refreshments, fruits, vegetables, warm clothing and toys are almost entirely dependent on tourists for business. With the entry of tourists banned since Tuesday, most shops operating at popular tourist locations across the Nilgiris have been closed down.

In the Ooty Lake and Boat House, where around 30 shops operate every day, only three remained open on Friday. One of the shopkeepers, Masoom Rahmani, who has been selling soft drinks and snacks for the last 10 years, said that he had had no business at the shop for the last three days.

“I have kept my store opened only out of habit. Usually, on a good day, I can make somewhere between ₹500-600. But due to the restrictions, there is no business for most shopkeepers who depend on the tourism sector,” he said.

Despite the hardships that they are facing, many of the shopkeepers are actually in full support of the district administration and the government’s decision to close the district to tourists.

H. Basheer Ahmed, a member of the roadside vendors’ association, said that he was relieved that the restrictions were brought in. “After witnessing the impact of COVID-19 on television in other parts of the country, it is indeed a relief that such strict restrictions have been brought it. While other bigger businesses and hotels have opposed them, we street hawkers and roadside vendors are fully in support of the government and its decision,” he said, adding that the street vendors would submit a petition to the Collector in the coming days asking for financial support. “We hope the collector will help us through these difficult times,” he said.

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 7:33:14 AM |

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