AN assemblyman has suggested the idea of creating a drive-through system to reduce crowds in Batu Lanchang Market in Penang.
Batu Lanchang assemblyman Ong Ah Teong said the move would ensure better crowd control following the closure notice issued to the market yesterday, the second time in less than 40 days due to Covid-19 cases.
“Through the drive-through service, marketgoers can pick up their orders without having to get out of their vehicles.
“The traders can pass the items to them straight away when the marketgoers come.
“By doing so, we can better control the number of people in the market,” he said, adding that it would take around two months to work out the system.
Yesterday, the market was ordered closed by the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) after four traders tested positive for Covid-19 while three more were still awaiting their results.
It was first ordered shut on July 29 after seven poultry traders tested positive for the disease. The market was reopened on Aug 18 after a 19-day closure then.
Ong also suggested that all traders should use a self-test kit fortnightly to check if they were free from the virus.
“I hope that MBPP can subsidise the purchase of the test kits and I will chip in and help whenever possible,” he said.
In May, the Batu Lanchang food complex located adjacent to the market was closed for nine days after three of its hawkers tested positive for Covid-19.
On Thursday, the Padang Tembak public market was also ordered closed after nine positive Covid-19 cases involving traders, helpers and a public health assistant were detected.
Since March last year, several public markets including those at Taman Free School, Batu Maung, Perak Road, Bayan Baru and Jelutong on the island were temporarily closed for disinfection after Covid-19 cases were detected.
The same happened to the markets in Penaga, Bagan Ajam, Chai Leng Park, Taman Sri Rambai, Seberang Jaya, Kepala Batas, Machang Bubok and Bukit Mertajam on the Penang mainland.
At the Bukit Gedung food complex, its traders have taken the initiative to temporarily close the premises for a week starting yesterday to curb the spread of the virus.
The MBPP said the closure would affect 49 active stall operators in the complex.
“We urge the public to always follow the standard operating procedures (SOP) to avoid getting infected by the virus, especially through the community.
“Those who fall under the high-risk status in MySejahtera app are not allowed to enter markets and food complexes under MBPP.
“We will take serious action, including closing premises if the SOPs are not followed,” the statement read, adding that the food complex would reopen on Sept 10.
Meanwhile, a factory and a nursing and rehabilitation centre in the northeast district were also ordered closed on Thursday.
It is understood that some 10 employees at the printing factory and about eight residents of the old folks home tested positive for the virus.