Market given all-clear to reopen

Traders cleaning their stalls before the reopening.

CLOSED since Nov 13 after a reported Covid-19 case, the Taman Free School market will resume its operation today to the delight of market-goers and traders.

Fishmonger Ooi Soo Hong, 45, said he used to make RM100 to RM200 a day but the 14-day quarantine was a real pinch on his pocket.

“To be stuck at home for 14 days was difficult as this is my only income.

“I had to sell my fish quickly before the shutdown, ” he said when met at the market in George Town.

Ooi, who has been operating his stall for over 28 years, said he expected business would be slow for a while now.

“People are scared, although all of us have tested negative by the Health Department. I know many will avoid this market for a while longer, ” he said.

Khoo Kay San, 55, who has four children including two still in school, said although he did not make much income selling fish noodles, he needed to save up for his children’s education.

“During my quarantine, we just managed with whatever we had, sometimes not eating as much as we do normally in a day.

“We lost half a month’s income due to the shutdown.

“It will take a month for the usual crowd to start coming in again, ” he said.

(Second from left) Jagdeep handing out face masks to the stall operators.(Second from left) Jagdeep handing out face masks to the stall operators.

Khaw Siew Voon, 36, who runs a char hor fun noodle stall, hoped that people would come back to the market to support them.

“We know people are afraid as the virus could be anywhere, but we need to make money as well, ” she said.

Yesterday, the stall operators were busy cleaning their respective stalls before the reopening today.

State local government committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo visited the market to hand out face masks to the stall operators and show them support.

“I want them to know that I stand with them, as they are my people and I care about their plight and needs.

“The traders have tested negative for Covid-19 and have letters from the Health Department.

“They can now operate as usual but they need to follow the strict standard operating procedures, ” said Jagdeep who is also Datuk Keramat assemblyman.

There are 136 stalls in the whole market. Only 68 stalls were sealed off and 72 of the traders were tested for Covid-19.

On a separate note, he said that Penang now has 12 clusters after a new cluster called ‘Damar Laut’ was detected recently.

“I urge everyone to follow the standard operating procedures as that is our only vaccine now.

“Prevention is better than cure.

“Small measures such as always wearing your face mask and washing your hands can make all the difference, ” he said.

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jagdeep singh , penang , taman free school , market


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