KuwaitOther News

Kuwait’s tent business hit hard by COVID-19

KUWAIT: Tent makers are seen inside their shop at the tent market in Rai. – Photo by Fouad Al-Shaikh

By Ben Garcia

KUWAIT: The Cabinet has banned camping in the desert and pitching tents outside residential homes as part of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Kuwait Times spoke to owners of tent businesses, who said they respect the decision of the Cabinet amid the prevailing circumstances.

“Of course we are sad that we cannot take advantage of the spring season or busy winter days. That is why we are not making many prefabricated tents this time. Our business is down this season by almost 70 percent,” said Yasser Ali, a Pakistani co-owner of a tent shop at the tent market in Rai near the Friday Market.

Ali said business hasn’t recovered since they reopened in July after the lockdown. “We cut our staff and I only have one assistant now. I allowed my workers to transfer to other jobs. I know we cannot rely on the income from the shop now – very few customers are coming to make tents or order material for tents,” he said.

“Normally our services include everything – from setting up tents to the materials needed for tents. Some Kuwaitis like to have a tent in their backyards – those are the few customers we’ve got. But they are few and we have many shops here,” Ali said.

“I have been working here for the past 12 years, and this is the only time as far as I can remember that business is this slow. I am praying for a miracle, because if there are no changes in the coming two months or so, I am planning to go back home to Islamabad and try my luck in business there,” Ali said.

While Ali was speaking with Kuwait Times, a customer dropped by looking for an awning for his villa, but when he learned the price, he left without buying anything. “That is the problem now – they want cheap prices in the middle of the pandemic. They know we do not have any sales, and when you tell them your price, they will try their best to reduce it to a ridiculous amount. We cannot give away our products – we need money to pay the salaries of our workers and at least eat,” he said.

Back to top button