Domestic tourism among latest sectors to reopen in Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: Domestic tourism, sports and recreational activities as well as professional services are among the latest sectors to be relaxed in Sabah’s fifth stage of the movement control order (MCO).

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal said these sectors were allowed to operate starting yesterday.

Activities allowed to resume are domestic tourism which includes accommodation, adventure and recreation, food and beverage, as well as ticketing services.

Hotels are allowed to operate but facilities and services such as surau, gymnasiums, spas, saunas, lounges, swimming pools, meeting rooms, seminar halls and buffets are to remain closed.

Shafie said art and cultural activities involving a maximum of 10 people were also allowed.

Environmental, wildlife and park activities, be it for recreational, surveillance or research purposes, can proceed as well.

“All these must adhere strictly to the standard operating procedure (SOP) mentioned before this,” Shafie said in a statement.

Sports that are allowed include golf, tennis, cubprix, shooting, weightlifting, cycling, sailing, petanque, squash, ping-pong, karate, wushu and taekwondo (kata), whereas group recreational and sports activities cannot involve more than 10 people at one time.

Professional services by engineers, lawyers, architects, accountants, finance consultants, surveyors, pharmacists, counsellors, veterinarians and others are allowed too.

“We are asking airline companies serving domestic routes to increase their flight frequency,” Shafie said.

Shops selling motor vehicles, heavy machinery and bicycles can operate too. Those who need to travel inter-district must follow the SOP put in place.

In March, the state government cancelled major events such as Pesta Kaamatan and Pesta Kalimaran.State opposition party SAPP chairman Datuk Yong Teck Lee said the extension of the conditional MCO was appropriate.

Yong, a former Sabah chief minister, said the relaxed movement order was good enough to keep the economy going and minimise the economic suffering of the people.

He said the four-week extension was appropriate because people could make plans accordingly since they knew the new time frame.

“I assume if there is a second wave of infections, then the CMCO can be tightened, but if the Covid-19 situation has improved or passed, then the CMCO can be further relaxed,” Yong said.

In George Town, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said a discussion on the extension of the conditional MCO would be held during a state security committee meeting tomorrow.

“There will be a discussion on certain restrictions at the meeting,” he said when asked if certain restrictions would be eased during the extension of the conditional MCO.

On Saturday, the Penang government achieved the green zone status with no new positive Covid-19 cases for the last 14 days.

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