Shoppers observe social distancing in Klang’s Little India

Police officers and soldiers are a common sight in Little India now. — SAM THAM/The Star

MORE than 50 shops in Klang’s Little India raised their shutters after closing shop since March 18 to abide by the movement control order (MCO).

On Wednesday, only a few shops selling textile, jewellery and silverware resumed business despite being allowed to open under the conditional MCO.

Many locals took the opportunity to drive into Little India for a spot of shopping as it was Wesak Day and a public holiday, yesterday.Certain shops kept their shutters down as businesses took a more guarded approach in welcoming customers.

People were seen shopping for pots and pans while others made a beeline for shops selling vegetables, spices and condiments used in Indian cooking.

Some, ventured into jewellery shops to buy gifts as it is Mothers Day this Sunday while others looked for gifts for birthdays and other occasions.

The crowd at Little India’s main thoroughfare of Jalan Tengku Kelana was significantly smaller compared to before the MCO came into effect.

Shoppers took the necessary precautions and wore masks, while shops allowed only a few customers at a time into their premises, after taking their temperature. Hand sanitisers were also provided.

Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Klang District Liaison secretary K.K. Devan said although people were streaming into Little India, the shops had taken the necessary precautions and limited the number of customers into their premises.

“Most businesses have standard operating procedures to observe.

“Although business is being cranked up, it will take a few months for a certain level of normalcy to return.

“People are free to shop, order takeaway from the restaurants, but strict compliance of wearing face masks with social distancing rules must be observed, ” said Devan.

Sri Kumaran’s Silk Store managing director N. Ravichandran said people were returning to Little India but many were shopping for silverware for everyday use and not sarees.

“Our customers are the vital lifeline for all merchants and small traders in the area. We are strict in taking people’s temperature and we ensure our shoppers use the hand sanitiser.

“We refuse entry to those whose temperature exceeds 37ºC, ” he said.

Ravichandran added that it might not be business as usual but having the shops open was a way forward in getting the economy going.

“I encourage others to open up their shops as well as they will be geared up to confront the challenges and opportunities that await, ” he said.

Sri Rasi Silk Centre Sdn Bhd manager Selvam Subramaniam said there was a steady flow of customers since he opened for business on Wednesday.

“Yesterday, we had 30 customers. It was a good start. We believe it will take some time before we get more customers, ” he said.

Policemen accompanied by a soldier armed with an M16 rifle is a common sight in Little India now.Yesterday, constables Yusri Budiman and Alexsion Ajin from the South Klang Police headquarters with another soldier were seen patrolling the streets.

The men in blue gave strict reminders to shop owners and took photographic proof when social distancing was not observed.

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