ROADSIDE stall traders operating outside the four markets in Jelutong, Ayer Itam, Jalan Perak and Pulau Tikus in George Town, Penang, have been allowed to resume their business today.
Penang Island City councillor Nicholas Theng said the traders and ‘tagged’ hawkers in Jelutong market and Ayer Itam market would operate on a rotation basis on alternate days.
“There are 118 and 134 roadside stalls in Jelutong market and Ayer Itam market respectively.
“We will arrange in a way that traders who sell the similar items will operate on alternate days to prevent overcrowding.
“As for the roadside stall traders in Jalan Perak market and Pulau Tikus market, those with licence can operate everyday as there are not many stalls doing business there, ” he said during a site inspection with Batu Lancang assemblyman Ong Ah Teong yesterday.
The roadside stalls at the four markets were closed since March 22 due to the movement control order (MCO).
Theng, who is also the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) public health and licensing committee alternate chairman, said the approval for business resumption was given on Wednesday.
“By allowing the traders to operate, one of the requirements is to practise social distancing.
“We will do our best to fulfill the requirements and we hope all traders will comply with this.
“MBPP workers are drawing boxes for the traders to operate in and there will be a one-metre distance between the stalls.
“We will assign more officers at all the markets to ensure that the situation is under control.
“There will be a three-day trial period until Sunday. We will see by then what are the changes that may be needed along the way.
“The MBPP enforcement officers will talk to the traders on who would operate on which day. There will be only 60 to 70 roadside stalls operating daily at the Jelutong market, ” he said.
Ong thanked the council and the state for the move.
“I hope the traders will follow the standard operating procedure (SOP), such as maintaining social distancing and putting on a mask at all times, ” he said.
Ong said Jalan Penaga and Lorong Ipoh near the Jelutong market would be closed to traffic from 6am to 2pm.
“Only traders and market-goers can enter via the roads. No cars and motorcycles are allowed.
“The lanes near Jelutong market appear congested due to the cramped space and narrow lanes.
“Motorcyclists and people use the road together, making it messy and crowded, ” he said.
On another matter, Theng said the 24-hour road closure around Ayer Itam market would be shortened to six hours, from 6am to noon starting today.
Meanwhile, Seberang Prai City councillor Michael Tan said MBSP would be having a meeting today to discuss and determine whether roadside stalls at mainland markets would be allowed to reopen.
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