SEVERAL business owners operating in Brickfields say the area has become a ghost town with no customers or even window shoppers.
Several traders were forced to shutter their shops in Kuala Lumpur’s Little India and send their staff home because of the huge drop in business.
Restaurants, retail shops, beauticians and grocery outlets report that they hardly had any customers since Monday.
A. Ravi, who is the owner of Dayang RV Sdn Bhd, a shop selling groceries, said he was forced to close by 1pm on Monday due to poor sales.
“We had to throw away fresh vegetables despite selling them at RM1.
“There was only one customer who came to buy prayer items, ” Ravi lamented.
The drop in business has been attributed to Health Ministry director-general Datuk Noor Hisham Abdullah’s announcement of the emergence of a new Covid-19 cluster at a restaurant in Brickfields on Sunday.
City Gold proprietor Sadiq Batcha, who runs a costume jewellery shop in Brickfields, said his business was down by 70%.
“When the new cluster was announced, we hardly got walk-ins, ” he said.
Petty traders operating food stalls along Jalan Tun Sambanthan said they have seen a massive drop too.
“The office crowd coming here to have lunch is our biggest business, but it has been so quiet this week, ’’ said K Selvi.
“We are suffering badly, ’’ chipped in Anbu Raju who sells cut fruits.
“If things are to continue like this, I will be forced to close shop.”
A food outlet near Jalan Padang Belia also reported zero customers on Monday.
Brickfields Business Council secretary Benazir Ahmed said although business was already slow due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the situation was made worse after the new cluster was announced.
“Things were bad in March when the government first announced the movement control order (MCO) on March 18.
“Business was slow, but it got progressively worse on Monday when we barely had a single customer for the first two hours after opening, ” he said.
Benazir, who owns New Malliga Enterprise, said his average customer footfall used to be 200 per day.
“People think Brickfields’ Little India is a Covid-19 hotspot which is not true and the government’s announcement has affected the entire area, ” he said, in appealing to the public to return.
“Most businesses have had their staff tested and are following the proper standard operating procedure (SOP) for the recovery MCO, ” he said.
Sri Paandi Restaurant owner Alagarsamy Kumar said the new cluster has affected only one restaurant in Brickfields, which was shut down for sanitisation purposes.
He pleaded with the public not to shun other eateries in the area.
“We are all operating as usual and following the strictest SOP on social distancing, ” he said.
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