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Virus threatens food catering businesses

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Virus threatens food catering businesses

The impact of the Covid-19 outbreak has reached the food catering industry as people across the country stay clear of large gatherings such as weddings.

Cambodia has so far reported 33 cases of Covid-19, with people infected in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey, Kampong Chhnang, Battambang, Kampot, Tbong Khmum, Kampong Cham, Preah Vihear and Kep provinces.

Ly Seng Catering’s owner, Ly Seng An, told The Post on Tuesday that his business has seen a drop in activity since February. In the last few days, as many as 12 people organising weddings cancelled their reservations due to the fear of infection.

He said the number of bookings has plummeted, which is alarming because this is usually a busy time for the business. “The catering business is now significantly down,” he said.

The size of each wedding has also been affected. Seng An said that a customer recently booked 80 tables for a wedding but then ended up reducing the reservation to just 28 guests as he feared they might not show up.

Other provinces are also beginning to see a drop in the number of weddings.

Sok Chrek, who owns a catering business in Pursat province, said on Tuesday that the situation has drastically changed this year and that there are fewer bookings for weddings. He said those who hired his services were asking for fewer tables.

Organisers and guests are afraid to attend weddings, Chrek said, adding that in contrast, food catering at funerals has not been affected to the same extent.

“Not many people are hiring our services now. We are mostly catering for small events in villages,” he said.

Chan Sopheak, a 27-year-old Phnom Penh resident who agreed to be the groomsman at his friend’s wedding later this month, told The Post that he had to cancel his attendance to the event due to fears of Covid-19.

“I already told the groom’s family that I will not attend the ceremony because I am now having flu-like symptoms and I am afraid it could be Covid-19,” he said.

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