Chinese restaurant owner in Botswana says COVID-19 depresses business


The past 12 months have seen a popular Chinese restaurant located in the Gaborone CBD in Botswana lose an estimated one million pula (about 90,560 US dollars) in turnover because of the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“Since the pandemic, we are operating at 25 percent, now we have no money to pay rental, every month we are losing too much, ” said Yue Peng, the Chinese businesswoman who runs the China Restaurant in the city.

Yue who has been running the popular restaurant for more than six years is now facing an unprecedented crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to fight the surge of the virus, Botswana last year imposed COVID-19 lockdown protocols and a six-month state of emergency, shutting down businesses and banning the sale of alcohol.

Despite the difficult time, Yue has managed to keep16 employees at the restaurant and wishes the Botswana government could help with subsidies to help them keep their employees.

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“Since the pandemic, we do more takeaways and deliveries. We have also opened a departmental store in China Restaurant to assist in keeping our business in operation. The departmental store offers Chinese spices, sauce, tea, snacks, dry foods, and sweets,” said Yue.

In the meantime, every weekend the restaurant also hosts Chinese cooking and tea tasting sessions as a way of cultural exchange and teaching locals to prepare Chinese food. Enditem

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