More entities added to essential services list


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 19 Mar 2020

PETALING JAYA: The government has gazetted more entities as essential services under the movement control order.

They are hotels and accommodations, e-commerce and postal services, petrol stations, telecommunications and public transport.

The list, a much longer one than anticipated by the public, was gazetted under the Federal Government Gazette dated March 18 titled “Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within the infected local areas) Regulations 2020”, with the authority of the Health Minister Datuk Dr Adham Baba.

The other essential services listed are banking and finance, port, dock and airport services and undertakings, including stevedoring, cargo handling, pilotage and storing or bulking of commodities.

Others are prisons, solid waste management and public cleansing and wildlife services.

The Health Minister would determine whether any other services needed for the health and security of the public would be included.

For a full list, go to https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2020/03/18/covid-19-hotels-and-e-commerce-now-included-in-expanded-list-of-essential-services.

Meanwhile, the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry stressed there is strictly no dining-in allowed in all restaurants and food outlets, but eateries are allowed to stay open for takeaways and deliveries.

All self-service laundrettes must be shut down, while supermarkets in departmental stores are only allowed to open sections that sell food and essential goods.

In a list of frequently asked questions released by the National Security Council (NSC), the ministry stated some companies would be allowed to store more than the allowed quota on its licence, but this would be determined on a case-by-case basis.

“The distribution centres which involve essential daily needs and food, including e-commerce warehouse and supporting warehousing services, are allowed to operate as usual.

“Restaurants/ready-to-eat sections/bakeries will be allowed to open but only for takeaways, drive-through, as well as deliveries by companies such as Grab Food and Food Panda.

“Food courts can remain open but only for takeaways or delivery by companies such as Grab Food or Food Panda. Only tenants in the pharmaceutical and clinical industry are allowed to remain operational in a hypermarket,” said the ministry.

Separately, Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) stressed the updated regulations only allow hotels to carry out limited operations.

Hoteliers are to limit its services to only guests who checked in on March 18. Food and beverage services are limited to room service only.

All other facilities and services of the premises are to remain closed.

Hotels are to keep bare minimum staff for critical needs such as security and engineering.

In-house guests need to remain in their rooms throughout the movement control order period.

“We are aware that many are confused with the situation.

“We were given such a short notice to prepare, but our advice is to look at the bigger picture and focus on containing the spread before the situation gets worse,” said MAH president Kamaruddin Baharin.

Malaysia Budget Hotel Association national deputy president Dr Sri Ganesh Michiel said hotels would still receive guests but with strict precautionary measures.

“Without prejudice, hotels are allowed to provide limited services only in an effort to prevent Covid-19 from spreading.

“Although we can operate, we urge all our members to take the responsibility in carrying out preventive measures,” he said.

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