Business going from bad to worse after MCO 3.0

Staying afloat: A vegetable seller attending to customers at the Batu Lanchang market. — LIM BENG TATT/The Star

WET markets in Penang are bearing the brunt of a lockdown again, even during the festive period.

Fishmonger Ang Swee Sim, 57, who has been in the business since she was 10, said business before MCO 3.0 was already bad but now, it was even worse.

“Even before the latest MCO, business was already on the decline. We have not seen good business in months.

“My business has dropped by 60%.

“The only reason the market is not empty today is because it’s a weekend.

“There are days when there are hardly any people here, ” she said when met at the Ayer Itam market.

Ang said the traders had to lower their prices as they could not sell off their daily stock.

“People are unaware that this market is still open and accessible to the public.

“Previously during the first MCO last year, the roads around here were closed, making it difficult for people to visit the market.

“The road closure was due to the high number of Covid-19 cases in the area.

“Now, people are unsure if the situation here is the same this time.

“We hope people will be made aware that the roads here are open and there is no traffic blockage, ” she said.A vegetable stall operator, who wished to be known only as Lee, said business could be better.

“It has been slow due to the pandemic.

“We did not expect to have much business after they announced the MCO this time.

“The prices of vegetables went up recently as the weather was bad, resulting in less produce.

“However, supply is back to normal now, ” she said.

Housewife Nasha Ibrahim, 31, said she came to the Ayer Itam market a few days before Hari Raya as she was worried that items would be sold out.

“On the second day of Raya, we would usually visit family but now, we will be at home due to the MCO.

“I came to buy some fish and vegetables to cook today.

“I do not need anything special, just the basics to cook a meal for my husband and two kids.

“The prices have stayed the same here but I did notice that the prices of chicken and beef have gone up at the other markets.”

Meanwhile, the situation was a bit different at the Batu Lanchang market.

Fishmonger Lee Seang Hin, 70, said business was still okay this time despite the MCO but not as good as during pre-Covid-19 times.

“The price of fish has gone up by 10% but that is because the supplier raised the price.

“We cannot finish our daily stock like before so we usually keep them for two days, ” he said.

Consumers Association of Penang education officer N.V. Subbarow, meanwhile, urged Penangites to refrain from going to the market every day if they wanted to see a decline in Covid-19 cases.

“We want to remind Malaysian consumers that they should temporarily stop going to the market every day.

“The number of Covid-19 cases will likely decrease if consumers reduce their visits to markets and supermarkets.

“We still see those in the retired age bracket visiting wet markets daily. They are susceptible to the virus due to underlying health issues.

“Meanwhile, others can be seen taking children out, ” he said in a statement.

The nationwide MCO 3.0, which was imposed on May 12, will be in force till June 7.

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