Food complex reopens following nine-day closure

Ong (second right) and Goh (black T-shirt) witnessing a Health Department official removing the closure notice at the barricade. With them is Jelutong MP RSN Rayer (left). — LIM BENG TATT/The Star

AFTER a nine-day closure due to positive Covid-19 cases, the food complex in Batu Lanchang Market in Penang has reopened.

With stricter standard operating procedures (SOP) in place now, traders are looking forward to recovering their losses.

The hawkers’ representative Goh Kok Joo, 39, said he received positive feedback from 80 stall operators during the reopening on Saturday.

“Some incurred losses from damaged raw ingredients but generally, they are happy to able to resume business although the operating hours now end early at 8pm.

“However, a few food operators are not operating for dinner due to this restriction.

“We’ve put up new banners to inform customers of the new SOP at all the entrances.

“All eight entrances into the complex have temperature scanners too, ” said Goh.

A Rela member scanning the temperature of a market-goer at the entrance of the Perak Road Market.A Rela member scanning the temperature of a market-goer at the entrance of the Perak Road Market.

Batu Lanchang assemblyman Ong Ah Teong, who was present to witness Health Department and Penang Island City Council enforcers removing barricades, said he hoped everyone would learn from this closure and be more careful.

“The complex was closed after eight hawkers tested positive for Covid-19.

“A total of 168 RTK antigen tests were taken.

“Fortunately, no new cases were detected during the closure.

“The complex has been sanitised twice. Each stall will have QR codes so customers have to scan twice with their MySejahtera app, once at the entrance and once more at the stall.

“Hawkers are more careful now and I urge everyone to comply with the SOP as the pandemic is still raging, ” he said.

Meanwhile, checks at other markets including Perak Road Market found big crowds.

Some traders believed this could be due to concerns regarding the nationwide lockdown starting tomorrow.

“I believe the customers want to buy their food and other essential items now before the lockdown starts, ” said a vegetable seller who declined to be named.

Over at Bukit Mertajam, the market in Kampung Baru was just as crowded but the situation was under control, thanks to the supervision of the Seberang Prai City Council enforcement team.

Market-goers were ordered to queue up around the building and wait patiently for their turn to enter.

Council officers were seen making their rounds to ensure social distancing was observed among the visitors.

However, the hawkers’ complex there was still packed.

Some customers were spotted making hasty purchases without a face mask on while groups were seen gathering at the parking lots without wearing face masks.

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