For the people at Kathmandu we all know Thamel is the party hub of the city…
We can even say Thamel is more alive at the night time than it is in the afternoon. But the life of the party was affected badly when the Nepali government announced a lockdown due to the coronavirus that went on for many months!
While there was no certainty when the lockdown will end, businesses in Thamel were affected badly.
The place where everyone came to the party was quiet and dead!If you talk to the local shop owners they will tell you a story one will have a hard time believing.
Some of the shopkeepers said, “During the lockdown Thamel was so quiet that walking alone at the road was scary. The streets were so dead that the stray dogs will try to bite the person they see on the road.”
There are so many businesses that rely on the nightlife in Thamel.
While it was a big taboo going out at night a few years back, now it is a trend everyone follows. But how are things now, since the lockdown has been lifted and things are going slowly back to normal.
How are the clubs doing? Talking to different club owners in Thamel about how the nightlife is doing right now after the pandemic, they said everyone was frustrated to have stayed inside their home for a long time.
Owner of Club Farenheit, Milan Shrestha said, “Pandemic was very tough for many in this place. Not only did I have to shut down my business but also look after my staff working here. And talking about having a hard time to keep the business running, I had two traveling agencies right at my house. But they had to leave because it was hard for them to pay rent.”
Rabin Shrestha, the owner of the club Lord of the Drinks, went on to explain, “We had to shut the club down not only for the safety of our customers but also for the safety of our in-house staff. We have almost 200 staff members, and we had to think about them as well. But yeah, it was hard to go on during the lockdown since there was no certainty till when it would go.”
And when asked how is the business going on now, Milan said, “After we opened up, to be honest we had no idea if people would come or not. But I guess everyone was frustrated to have stayed inside for so long. So the number of customers we got was shocking to me as well. Till now no one has gotten sick, so I guess we have gotten lucky.”
However, just because the lockdown has been lifted it does not mean it is safe! We still have to follow safety protocols and wear masks at all times.
Rabin went on to say, “LOD tries to follow as many safety protocols as possible. I have been asked so many times, ‘Dai is there no coronavirus here?’. I mean we are all still very scared but we have to run our business as well. I am not forcing anyone to come even though I really appreciate all the love I get from our customers, LOD just says we are open.”
The businesses have started again in Thamel, but we have yet to get international tourists in the country.
Thamel is one part of Nepal that faced big losses during the lockdown, so how can we really go from here?
What would be the right step to take?
We have to start asking questions, how can we have fun and be safe at the same time?