‘Don’t handle the produce’

Shoppers lining up to enter the Lorong Sepat morning market in Klang.

CUSTOMERS shopping at the 14 morning markets in Klang are not allowed to dig into the boxes of vegetables and fruits or touch any other items being sold.

They are required to point out the items they want to buy, and the traders will pack the items for the customers.

Four of the markets — Pasar Pagi Eng Ann, Pasar Pagi Lorong Sungai Puloh 13 in Klang Utama, Pasar Pagi Lorong Sepat in Teluk Pulai and Pasar Pagi Jalan Batu Nilam 27 in Bandar Bukit Tinggi — reopened for business yesterday.

Another three — in Jalan Papan, Taman Chi Liung and at Flat Taman Chi Liung — will reopen tomorrow.

Klang Municipal Council (MPK) Licensing and Hawkers Department director Azhar Samsudin said the council decided to allow these daily markets to open from 6am to 11am under strict conditions, where every stall must have a QR code and customers were made to follow the 3S of the standard operating procedure (SOP) — sanitise, screen (body temperature) and scan (QR codes).

Meanwhile, three weekly morning markets will reopen on selected dates — Pasar Pagi Lintang Dato’ Tahir will open today, Pasar Pagi Jalan Khoo Kek Kheng on Feb 6 and Jalan Sri Sarawak 18 in Taman Sri Andalas will open on Feb 7.

The reopening of the remaining two daily markets and two weekly markets in the municipality, said MPK, would depend on the SOP compliance rate at the operational markets and the number of Covid-19 cases.

All of the morning markets had been ordered to shut at the start of the second movement control order.

“Morning markets are essential businesses as people get their fresh produce here. This is to support small local businesses and empower the economic engine in an area, ” said Azhar.

A trader, Yip Peng Peng, 55, who sells traditional Chinese cakes, said open-air wet markets allowed for greater physical distancing, while temporary makeshift stalls enabled flexibility and enhanced cleaning at the end of the business day.

StarMetro visited three of the markets that opened yesterday and found the majority of people complied with the SOP. However, at certain points, it was difficult for customers to practise physical distancing due to the number of people in a given space.

Several customers did not wear the mask properly, either by wearing it under their chin or covering only their mouth and leaving their nose exposed.

There were also customers who insisted on touching and holding the produce while making their selection.

Traders were also seen reminding customers to keep the minimum one-metre distance from each other and wait in line to maintain safe distance.

Azhar said it was hard for people to keep their distance while shopping but it must be done.

“We are in a pandemic mode, but there is a need for people to shop for basic necessities and get goods for Chinese New Year, ” he added.

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