Arish suffers from recession

The shops on 23 July Street in Arish prepare to close. They have one hour before the curfew starts at 7 pm.
Although shop owners acknowledge that their city needs to be secured from bombings and armed clashes that they themselves have seen, they still complain about a recession that threatens them with bankruptcy.
Café owners are affected most because the curfew is during their peak business hours. “I had 40 workers and I used to open for 16 hours,” said Mostafa Saeed. “Now I only have three workers because I lost 95 percent of my income.”
He said that he invested LE5 million to open his café. “I used to make LE10,000 a day,” he said. “Now I make LE500.”
“I bought supplies for Valentine’s Day for LE2,000, but nobody showed up because people left the city,” he said. “This used to be a café for the high class. Now I will take any customer.”
“They should make the curfew from midnight to six in the morning,” he said. “I have postponed my wedding because I cannot afford it.” 
In another café just a few meters away sits Abul Wafa Suleiman. “I had 42 workers and now I have only nine because my income was dropped by 90 percent,” says he. “I couldn’t buy supplies for Valentine’s Day.”
Mohamed Mehany, manager of the largest hotel in Arish, says business was good before the 25 January revolution. “We had tourists and Egyptian holidaymakers,” he said. “But the media exaggerates the situation in Sinai and people no longer want to come to Arish.”
“We had 270 workers. Now we only have 127 whose salaries we did not reduce,” he said, adding that the hotel is owned by the government. “We have lost LE5 million so far because we only have an occupancy of 25 rooms out of 216.”
“Also now that the Rafah Crossing is closed we have no Palestinians staying at the hotel,” he said.
Adel Hassan Mohsen, director of economic affairs at city headquarters, says the impact of the terrorist operations on business is greater than that of the curfew. 
“North Sinai suffered most from the state of lawlessness that followed the 25 January revolution,” he said.
Abdallah Qandil, chairman of the North Sinai Chamber of Commerce, says the curfew has damaged businesses in North Sinai by 50 percent. “Our only consolation is that the curfew is important for our security,” he said.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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