‘More guidelines needed to operate’

A restaurant employee cleaning the premises in Bangsar in preparation for dine-in customers.

KUALA Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has to draw up additional guidelines to complement the one by the National Security Council (MKN) for the operation of businesses and facilities under its jurisdiction.

This is to ensure the requirements of the conditional movement control order (MCO) are followed correctly.

A DBKL spokesman said MKN’s guidelines told what should and must be done.

“But we need to make sure that it is done right.

“For instance, people can go to parks and start jogging, but in groups of one or two while practising social distancing and wearing masks and whatever protective gear they require.

“But they should not bring their children out to play at the playground in the park, ” the spokesman said.

The person cited another example of food courts where the tables are nailed to the ground and cannot be moved.

“You cannot observe social distancing there, where everyone will be in close proximity with each other.

“Also, the kitchens are too small and cramped and it will be difficult for the cook and his helpers to stand 1m away from each other, ” he added.

Regarding food trucks, he said there had to be proper guidelines based on size, infrastructure and locality, which may defer from red zones to green zones.

A red zone category is for areas with more than 41 Covid-19 active cases, orange zone (20-40 cases), yellow zone (1-19) and green zone (no cases).

As at press time, the red zones in Kuala Lumpur are Kepong (88 active cases), Lembah Pantai (289) and Titiwangsa (60).

“So, it’s not as simple as it seems, there are a lot of things that we need to look at and I hope for now, everyone will remain calm and observe the main SOP, that is -- keep your distance, wash your hands and wear your face masks.

“For food and beverage business owners, the responsibility is heavier on them, so they should be careful, ” he said.

The spokesman said they were fine-tuning the additional SOP required and would make an announcement soon.

A check at several food courts and businesses in Kuala Lumpur showed some getting ready to open today.

Workers were seen disinfecting, washing, mopping and wiping stalls within shops in Bangsar, Jalan Kelang Lama, Jalan Mega Mendung and Brickfields.

Meanwhile, food traders are having reservations about restarting their operations despite the conditional MCO.

Churros Time Enterprise chief operating officer Mohd Dzulhilmi Mohd Khalid who oversees 80 roadside kiosks selling churros nationwide said they would not start business until after Hari Raya.

“It may be easy for an SOP to be in place, but there is no surety that the staff will strictly adhere to it.

“Our food is still available via e-hailing service deliveries directly from our factory to customers.

“We can control the SOP in a confined area such as the factory, but not at kiosks.

“The number of positive Covid-19 cases are still fluctuating, so weighing the health risks, slow business and overhead costs, we will not open for now, ” he said.

Putrajaya Food and Petty Traders Association deputy chairman Tengku Mohd Sharifudin Tengku Alias said many of its 200 members were still undecided.

“Although we were allowed to open since the start of MCO, only about 40% are operating, ” he said.

Putrajaya Food Truck Association deputy chairman Azairul Hazliza Abdul Rahman said all 33 members were waiting for Putrajaya Corporation (PPj) to give them the SOP.

“We want to open for business because it is our bread and butter, so I hope to get clear instructions from PPj soon, ” she said.

PPj corporate communication director Tengku Aina Tengku Ismail Shah said its officers from various departments would continue to conduct checks on business premises to ensure they followed the SOP.

“With more sectors scheduled to open on Monday such as food, retail as well as sports and recreation, we will continue to do checks to ensure compliance, ” she said.

MPSepang president Mohd Fauzi Mohd Yatim said the council would refer to directions from MKN on their surveillance to ensure all business owners followed the guidelines provided.

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