Authorities in Uzbekistan have ordered numerous cafes and restaurants in the country’s capital Tashkent to disconnect their gas stoves from 1 November as the country prepares for an unusually wide gap between gas demand and supply this winter.

The measure is expected to drive visitors away from eateries as Uzbekistan prepares for a new wave of Covid-19 infection.

Representatives of Uzbek's state gas supply sector have been busy visiting public catering establishments to ensure they are following the order.

The owner of several popular dining spots in Tashkent, Artur Rudomyotkin, posted a biting comment on social media, saying that cafes and restaurants — already in debt after an earlier Covid-19-related lockdown — will now have to obtain numerous permissions and invest in new connections if they want to install high-power electric stoves.

The decision “builds a high wall between catering points and the sunrise of a next day”, Rudomyotkin lamented.

Authorities have also warned that its gas savings initiative may soon include privately owned firms that use gas in the production of construction materials, as well as retail stations that sell gas.