PM: A new normal from Monday

PETALING JAYA: All dine-in customers must be prepared to give contact details as well as practise social distancing under the conditional movement control order (MCO).

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said table distancing, social distancing, registration of customer contacts and face masks for workers would be the new norms of dine-in from Monday.

He said under the conditional MCO, all food and beverage outlets could now open for dine-in provided they strictly follow conditions set by the authorities.

He, however, said it was better not to dine-in.

Restaurants will be allowed to operate from 6am to 11pm, but dine-in only from 7am to 10pm.

In a Labour Day speech yesterday, Muhyiddin said there must be temperature screening, tables must be distanced, outlets must register contact details of customers and restaurants must decide how to socially distance customers while dining in.

He said food and beverage outlets could start to clean up their premises from yesterday to prepare for dining-in on Monday.

“I want to give a simple example. From May 4, Pak Salleh can reopen his restaurant.

“In the next two days, he can start cleaning his restaurant, wash his cutlery and cooking pots and other cooking utensils, arrange the tables and chairs and buy his raw materials.

“Make sure the tables are set 2m apart. It is important for a space wide enough to allow the customers and workers to move and there is space for customers to eat safely.

“To ensure social distancing while dining, Pak Salleh can put notices on each table whether it is for one, two or three persons, depending on the size of the table. Pak Salleh decides, ” said Muhyiddin.

There must also be social distancing at payment counters, as well as hand sanitisers and table disinfectants.

“On the day the restaurant is opened, check the temperature of customers before they are allowed to enter.

“Take down the name and phone numbers of customers and record the time and date of their visit to the restaurant. This is important to allow contact tracing if there is a Covid-19 positive case involving customers.

“If you are still feeling cautious, do not dine-in. This is perhaps better, ” he said.

As for those returning to work, but worry about sending their children to nurseries and childcare centres, which will also be allowed to open, Muhyiddin suggested that employers be more lenient with parents.

He said that employers should look into flexi hours and working from home to make it easier for those without babysitters.

The Prime Minister urged employers to be more considerate to employees with children as kindergartens and schools were still closed under the conditional MCO.

“Even though most of the economic sectors will be opened, employers can encourage workers to work from home. This is the new norm. Perhaps they can work (from office) on alternate days.

“This will also solve the babysitting problem. Even though nurseries will be opened with standard operating procedures for health safety, I know many parents are worried about sending their children.

“If employers can be more lenient with couples to come to work alternately, this will solve the childcare problem.

“Today, the wife works from home, the husband works from office. Tomorrow the husband works from home, the wife works from office.

“This way, children need not be sent to nurseries, except for those with no other option. This will also lessen the number of children at childcare centres and it will be easier to practise the health SOPs, ” said Muhyiddin.

He added that for the civil service, the government would encourage its staff to work from home except those services which need presence in the office.

“Online meetings using safe mediums are also encouraged. For those facing childcare problems, the government will allow its staff to work in turns as well as flexi hours, ” said Muhyiddin.

He also advised employers to enable flexi hours so as to avoid congestion at public transport terminals and vehicles.

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