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Food sector, restaurant representatives urge government to reduce curfew hours

Stakeholders call for extending working hours until 1am

By Rana Husseini - Jul 12,2020 - Last updated at Jul 12,2020

The food sector and restaurant representatives called on the government on Sunday to extend the working hours to further stimulate the sector that was hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis (JT file photo)

AMMAN — The food sector and restaurant representatives called on the government on Sunday to extend the working hours to further stimulate the sector that was hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak in the Kingdom in mid-March and the subsequent nationwide lockdown, the government has allowed the gradual reopening of businesses, including restaurants but set 12 midnight as the new curfew time.

Economists and unionists have also warned that many sectors would be impacted and it could result in a “large-scale regression if not a complete economic halt due to the new rules”.

"We call on the government to extend the working hours until 1am since most restaurants start closing down their kitchens at 10:30 or 11pm,” the Jordan Association for Restaurants and Sweets Shops Owners President Omar Awad said.

The association president added that the curfew time is basically “making it hard on these entities to operate normally and serve their customers while trying to make up the huge financial losses they endured recently”.

Earlier in the month, foodstuffs sector representative at the Jordan Chamber of Commerce Raed Hamadah called for extending the working hours of restaurants and shops to 24 hours a day, with the aim of stimulating commercial and local tourism movement and protecting the sector.

Awad also called on the Ministry of Labour to consider slashing the work permit fees of foreign labourers working in the food industry.

“Foreign labourers working at restaurants pay JD520 for work permits and JD80 for the medical certificate and this is very high given the tough conditions,” Awad told The Jordan Times.

He pointed out that the Ministry of Labour “recently reduced the same kind of fee for foreign labourers working in the agriculture and bakery sectors”.

“I wonder why didn’t the labour ministry take a unified decision related to all foreign workers… I do not feel that the ministry is being just or has a long-term vision when taking its decisions,” Awad added.  

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