Local councils told to be strict in enforcing Covid-19 SOP at open-air markets

MBSA enforcement officers checking on traders of a morning market to ensure compliance with the Covid-19 SOP. — Photos: LOW BOON TAT/The Star

SELANGOR’s local authorities have been asked to penalise traders and customers at night and morning markets — which are now allowed to operate — for not adhering to the standard operating procedure.

Some of them had been found in violation of the SOP with poor physical distancing, causing concern among others there, said Klang Consumers Association.

Its president Devadass Anjan said the association had also received complaints of improper use of face mask by traders and customers.

“Their masks are worn around the chin, and are only pulled up to cover the mouth and nose upon seeing an enforcement officer or police patrolling the place.

“Open-air markets is a potential hotspot for spreading Covid-19.

“Customers must follow the 3S SOP which are sanitise, screen (body temperature) and scan (QR codes). I am shocked that at some open-air markets, the hand sanitiser is no more the norm,” he said.

Shoppers at a night market in Kampung Raja Uda, Klang, queuing up while maintaining physical distancingShoppers at a night market in Kampung Raja Uda, Klang, queuing up while maintaining physical distancing

Devadass, who planned to visit night markets in Klang, Shah Alam and Subang Jaya, suggested to local authorities in Selangor to spread out the trading lots at open-air markets to enable customers to practise physical distancing.

Meanwhile, Subang Jaya City Council (MBSJ), Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) and Klang Municipal Council (MPK) have warned that only fully vaccinated people are allowed to enter open-air markets by showing their Covid-19 digital vaccination certificate or card, and must wear a face mask, especially when engaging with others.

Subang Jaya has 13 morning markets and 20 night markets that have been allowed to operate.

MBSJ Corporate and Strategic Management Department deputy director Azfarizal Abdul Rashid said enforcement officers conducting checks would be strict with shoppers.

“They will demand to be shown proof of double vaccination and that the individual has completed the 14 days after the second dose, before the person is allowed to enter the morning or night markets,” he said.

Klang has 14 morning markets and 58 night markets under the purview of MPK.

Its Licensing and Hawkers Department director Azhar Samsudin said traders were relieved that they were given the green light by the National Security Council to operate again, as most of them relied fully on this to make a living.

“All markets will have a QR code at the entrance and each stall must be at least 1m apart from each other with clear plastic sheets covering the left and right sides,” he said.

Morning market operating hours were from 9am to 11am while night markets were from 4pm to 10pm, he added.

“Keep your distance, shop quickly and avoid spending too much time in places with high foot traffic.

“Avoid touching the produce or food items,” Azhar advised customers.

He warned that MPK officers in plain clothes would be monitoring the markets and would issue fines to offenders.

Shah Alam has 3,721 night market traders in 31 locations as of August this year and 1,351 morning market traders throughout the city.

MBSA Corporate and Public Relations Division head Shahrin Ahmad said it was important to use the MySejahtera app each time a person visited a stall.

“Based on the World Health Organisation public health approach, a trace, test and isolate method was effective in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic.

“With the QR code, those who are exposed to Covid-19 can be easily traced and quickly isolated, thus helping to break the transmission chain,” he said.

Sharin added that MBSA’s Health Department had made it compulsory for each trader to have a temperature scanner and hand sanitiser.

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