A mall in Bahrain has been letting food trucks and stalls feeling the financial pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic use its car park for free in an effort to boost local businesses.
Al Aali Mall, in the capital Manama, has removed outdoor food vendor rental charges this winter.
Winters are a popular time for outdoor eating, before the heat and humidity of summer hits in the Gulf island state.
Vendors said a space would normally cost around $2,500 a month during food festivals held years before the pandemic.
Bahrain in late January re-introduced a ban on indoor dining as COVID-19 infections rose, amid a number of other restrictions.
Al Aali mall manager Brad Curcillo said the mall had wanted to support the community during the pandemic.
Ahmed Janahi, who co-founded Radical Barbeque in Bahrain in 2017 as a home-based business, said they have been able to operate through the pandemic as they work on a delivery and outdoor takeaway basis, enabling them to adhere to COVID-19 regulations.
Previously Janahi’s outlet had paid rent for the spot, now it only pays a small amount for electricity and other services, he said.