SIBU: Authorities have vowed to take action against customers and business owners at the central market here for not practising social distancing during the conditional movement control order (MCO).
Sibu Crime Prevention and Community Policing Department head DSP Ariffin Bahar issued the warning after inspecting the market.
He told reporters that the five-day period from May 12 for educating market traders and the public on the standard operating procedure (SOP) had ended.
“Today is the last day for us to monitor the situation in the central market and shops around Jalan Channel. We have been advising the people on the SOP since May 12 when most businesses were allowed to re-open. By now they should know it,” he added.
During the one-hour inspection, DSP Ariffin lamented that several hawkers and customers were not practising social distancing by keeping a minimum one-metre distance from one another.
A traditional pastry stall was ordered to stop operating for the day as the stall owner did not have taped markings on the floor for customers to observe social distancing.
Other stall owners were told to advise their customers to keep their distance.
“Many people in the central market are still not following social distancing. After this we will start taking action,” he warned.
Those caught breaching the SOP would face action under Section 6 (1) of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within the Infected Local Areas) Regulations 2020 that carries a maximum fine of RM1,000 or six months’ imprisonment, or both, upon conviction.
The inspection also involved personnel from Rela, Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) and Civil Defence Force.
DSP Ariffin said he wanted SMC to create five entry and exit points in the market.
“I have advised SMC to create more entry and exit points for the easy movement of the public and to avoid congestion,” he added.
Meanwhile, chairman of Sibu Hawkers’ Welfare Association, Tan Hong Kiang also touched on social distancing issue in the central market.
“I am also one of the hawkers in the market. We all are fully in compliance with the SOP which was made known to us in a circular from the council. We have also been advising our customers about the need to practise social distancing. But if they refuse to follow, we cannot do anything,” he said.
Among the SOP guidelines included providing hand sanitiser, ensuring that the distance between tables is 2m, and that they must wear face mask.
Did you find this article insightful?
100% readers found this article insightful