Hawkers happy to resume business

Market-goers queuing up at the entry point to have their temperature scanned and register their details for contact tracing.

HAWKERS at the morning market along Jalan Merak, Puchong Jaya in Selangor, were pleased to resume business after three months of closure under the movement control order (MCO).

Market-goers queued up at the entry point to have their temperature scanned and register their details for contact tracing.

Different coloured stickers are used for each batch of visitors to monitor the number of people at the market at any one time. The situation was observed by Selangor local government, public transport and new village development committee chairman Ng Sze Han and Subang Jaya Municipal Council (MPSJ) officers during a site visit.

Under MPSJ guidelines, those without face masks or with temperature above 37.5°C will be denied entry to the open-air markets, and only two members of a family are allowed in.

Each visitor is only allowed to be at the market for a maximum of 30 minutes.

Puchong Hawkers Association chairman Lee Kwong Loong said the new guidelines were a good way to rid the market of illegal traders.

Another new normal is the increased usage of e-wallets, he said, adding that about 70% of the hawkers offered e-wallet payment options.

Lee said there were 92 registered hawkers at this particular morning market in Puchong Jaya.

With the new system of having traders take turns opening on alternate days, 46 hawkers are allowed to operate daily, and only 50 customers are allowed to enter at a time.

Each hawker contributes an extra RM200 per month to pay for hand sanitiser and the cost of hiring Rela members to control the crowd.

They also adhered to the guideline of having a minimum 2.5m distance between their stalls.

“As for the ‘no foreign workers rule’, there is no choice but to adapt, ” added Lee.

Ng said there were 417 morning markets, night markets and bazaars in Selangor.

“It has been tough for traders as these markets were closed for three months during the MCO.

“As the operation procedure for such markets vary at each location, the state government has agreed that councils will decide on how to manage and control the operations in their respective areas, based on the National Security Council’s (MKN) standard operating procedures (SOP), ” he said.

MPSJ president Noraini Roslan thanked the association and hawkers at the morning market for their cooperation in sacrificing a day of business to prepare the market for reopening in accordance with new SOP.

There are more than 4,000 open-air market traders in the Subang Jaya municipality, she said, and those markets would resume operations in stages.

Markets under Shah Alam City Council, Klang Municipal Council, Kuala Langat Municipal Council and Kuala Selangor District Council were the first to resume operations as of June 15.

This was followed by markets under MPSJ (June 16); Selayang Municipal Council (June 17); Ampang Jaya Municipal Council (June 18); Kajang Municipal Council, Hulu Selangor District Council and Sabak Bernam District Council (June 19).

Those under the jurisdiction of Petaling Jaya City Council and Sepang Municipal Council open today.

To prevent the reopening of markets from becoming new Covid-19 clusters, Ng said the Selangor government would have an awareness campaign with the concept of “BELI”, which promotes queuing up, practising social distancing, paying via e-wallets, speeding up the shopping process and registering on the Selangkah QR code system for contact tracing.

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