THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A large number of hotels and shops remained closed in the district on election day. Low turnout due to the election holiday and the government's direction to allow all employees to cast their vote were the reasons, said owners.
"The number of guests would be less since people would be busy with the polling. It is unviable for me to keep my restaurant open if the footfall is low. Also, the Labour Department has directed us to allow all workers to cast their vote. I thought it would be better to keep the shop closed on the day," said the owner of a popular restaurant at East Fort.
Sooraj, a government employee hailing from Thrissur, said hoteliers like him faced difficulty in finding a restaurant. "Usually I would have my breakfast from a restaurant at Bakery Junction. Today I'd walk a little to find another one," he said. Small eateries which were open in most parts of the city had good business on the day.
G Sudhiesh Kumar, hotelier and patron of the Kerala Hotels and Restaurants Association (KHRA), said business has not picked up after the post-lockdown slump. "It would be uneconomical to open the establishment if you don't get a minimum number of guests. I think those who did not open the shop feared the low turnout. The KHRA general secretary had asked all members to facilitate the workers to cast their vote," he said.
The state government had declared a holiday for all offices and educational institutions on the polling day. The General Administration Department's order said it will be applicable to all institutions, including government offices and schools. Commercial establishments were asked to give paid leave to employees. The Labour Commissioner was asked to ensure paid leave for employees of private institutions.