PETALING JAYA: Starting Tuesday, most shops will be required to close by 8pm under stricter rules to battle the spiralling number of Covid-19 cases.They will operate from 8am to 8pm except for pharmacies, which are allowed to open until 10pm, and petrol stations at rest stops on expressways, which will open round the clock.
The new hours will apply to businesses such as restaurants, food stalls and food truck operators, food delivery and take-away, sundry shops and convenience stores, malls, pet stores, laundromats, optical wear shops and hair salons.
Currently, they are allowed to operate until 10pm.
The rules will apply to Peninsular Malaysia and Labuan until June 7.
Night markets will be allowed to operate from 4pm to 8pm.
“An increase in daily Covid-19 cases locally and globally has compelled the government to enforce stricter movement restrictions to break the chain of infection and allow the public healthcare system to effectively treat patients, ” Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said at a joint press briefing with Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah yesterday.
He said passenger capacity on public transport would also be cut by 50% and the frequency reduced.
And 40% of the workforce in the private sector, or about six million workers, will be instructed to work from home.
The other 60% allowed to be in the office will include management personnel.
Details on this rule will be released soon by the International Trade and Industries Ministry.
Ismail Sabri also said 80% of civil servants would be instructed to work from home except frontliners and personnel in essential services.
He said the government did not opt for a lockdown in the manner of MCO 1.0 as it had to balance between health and livelihood.
“During MCO 1.0, about 800,000 workers lost their jobs. This is about the people’s survival, so we decided to tighten the standard operating procedures instead, ” he said.
He said there were also those who depended on daily income such as small traders and when they couldn’t operate under MCO 1.0, many fell on hard times.
The strict rules under MCO 1.0 also took a toll on the people’s mental health, he added.
“There were many but we did not reveal the numbers. So we want to save the people from suffering, ” he said.
Ismail Sabri said stricter lockdowns in enhanced movement control areas would continue and the government would continue to take a targeted approach on this.
He said there had been questions as to why bigger enterprises were not instructed to close but he said such measures would have a detrimental effect on the business and many would end up without jobs.