No go yet for local coffee shops

LOCAL coffee shops and restaurants have been told to hang in there as they are still not allowed to operate during the first phase of the Penang Gradual Recovery Strategy (PGRS).

State local government committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said he understood their plight and the people’s need as he himself would love to go out and have his nasi kandar fix.

“We have been asked about smaller restaurants, cafes and kopitiams.

“The answer is very simple, we want to see compliance before we allow smaller eateries to reopen.

“I want them to reopen as soon as possible but we have to do it in phases, to see compliance and if it is possible to reopen smaller shops.

“We want to see if Penangites are complying with the new safety measures,” he said during a press conference at Komtar yesterday.

Jagdeep said he was certain Penangites would adhere to the new measures and that the state had achieved the highest compliance in the country.

“We will open up in stages so we can assess the progress.

“I am sure soon enough, either in the second or third phase, all eateries will reopen,” he said.

Dining in at specific food outlets will be allowed in phases in Penang beginning tomorrow.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow reportedly said under the first phase which starts tomorrow, only hotels, shopping malls and fast food franchises would be allowed to provide dine-in services.

Jagdeep said the state’s safety measures are different from the Federal Government, as the state had implemented more steps.

“If you are allowed to dine in, you need to comply with a few steps.

“We have 14 safety measures, coming into effect on Friday and this is a statewide measure.

“The 14 safety measures include all foreign workers are to be tested for Covid-19, as this is a Federal Government requirement.

“Dine-in eateries must take down the names and contact numbers of all customers as part of the contact tracing requirement.

“The workers must wear masks while customers are strongly advised to do so as well.

“All cutlery must be sterilised after use and all cutlery and sauces must be handed out by the waiters.

“Customers are not allowed to share cutlery.

“Customers will also be given limited time and the dine-in eateries are not allowed to cater to more than their 50% capacity,” he said.

Jagdeep said the other safety measures included social distancing, cashless transactions and no buffets.

“I am sure Penangites will comply as they are understanding and have so far appreciated our efforts,” he said.

Jagdeep said only hotels, shopping malls and fast food franchises are allowed to provide dine-in services for the time being.

“There are 13 malls on the island and 21 malls on the mainland that are allowed to operate their dine-in facilities,” he said.

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