India Street empty and quiet

India Street now.

KUCHING: India Street, once bustling with locals and tourists, is now almost empty and quiet because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

One of Kuching’s oldest streets, it used to be a haven for shoppers looking for affordable merchandise, mostly textiles and fabrics, as well as a tourist hotspot.

Businesswoman Aleesya Mohd Zainal said that since the Covid-19 pandemic, business had been slow because few people came to the street.

“Although the festive seasons are fast approaching, nothing much has changed. I believe many people prefer to buy their stuffs online to avoid physical contacts.

“The pandemic has affected my small business. It has resulted in dramatic changes in how businesses are conducted and how consumers behave. We must follow strict standard operating procedures (SOPs).

“Perhaps, if business continues to be sluggish, I will try to get used to selling online. However, I find it more enjoyable to do business face-to-face. It’s tough and I pray every day   everything will return to normal,” she said.

Another businesswoman, Azie Maisarah Idham agreed India Street used to be very busy during the festive seasons.

“Although Hari Raya and Gawai Dayak are fast approaching, business is still slow due to the pandemic. People are afraid to go to crowded places.

“Online businesses will help us increase our incomes during this pandemic but there are many rivals online that sell the same products at different prices. Inevitably, customers will buy goods at the cheapest price they can find.”

Ice cream seller, Aliya Batrisya Iskandar, said, “When people suggest we do online business or deliveries, they do not know we have to increase the prices of our products by RM2. We have to pay for the delivery service. It is much cheaper if we just sell them at the shop.

“If you live in Kuching, you will notice the difference at India Street here right now. It’s too obvious. I hope everything will return to normal soon.” She said.