JOHOR’S move to Phase Four of the National Recovery Plan (NRP) has given a glimmer of hope to business operators who are looking forward to a speedy economic recovery.
They, however, anticipate that it will take time for business to return to the pre-pandemic days’ volume.
Restaurant owner Tan Kim Hock said this was because despite being able to reopen his eatery for dine-in during the previous phase, business was still slow.
The number of customers currently was less than half compared to the pre-pandemic period.
“Although there are some improvements compared to when Johor was still under phases one and two of the NRP, it is still a far cry from how things were before the pandemic.
“Currently, the number of customers I receive is only about 38% from before Covid-19,” he said, hoping the transition to the next phase would bring some improvement.
Tan, 58, also hoped the government would speed up its vaccination efforts for those below 18 years old.
“Although the majority of the adult population have been fully vaccinated, teenagers are still in the process of getting their jabs.
“This has also contributed to slow business as families are afraid to take their unvaccinated children out,” he said.
Johor transitioned to Phase Three on Oct 8, and on Monday, together with Terengganu moved to Phase Four.
Trader S. Sumathi, 38, who has a home-based business selling clothes and biscuits, said she looked forward to finally being able to open a stall at a Deepavali bazaar in Tampoi.
“The transition to Phase Four is timely as it takes effect just a few days before the festive season.
“I hope to see more people coming to the bazaar this year.
“At the same time, I hope the public will also be cautious and not let their guard down as complacency may lead us to another lockdown that we cannot afford,” she said and called for everyone to play their part to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Songkok maker Mohd Tajuddin Yahya, 38, whose shop has been closed for over six months, plans to open his doors again only next month.
He said he would continue running the business online for a while as there were hardly any customers at his shop now.
“People are still worried about leaving their homes and they prefer ordering online or through the phone,” he added.
Nevertheless, Mohd Tajuddin said he would start making the necessary preparations to welcome customers to his shop again.
He said he believed the public would not have much trouble following the SOP as they had been living under the new normal for almost two years.