Penangites enjoying dine-in services

Dining with a distance: The social distancing markers set up at restaurants for dine-in customers at a mall in Penang.

GEORGE TOWN: Dining out with friends used to be the norm, but it is now seemingly a luxury.

Businessman Teoh Tiong Hoe, 41, said having nasi kandar with his best friend cum business partner was a much-needed breath of fresh air.

“We have not hung out in ages. It is nice to be out together after what feels like a lifetime.

“It is nice to be seated eating my meal,” he said when met at a popular nasi kandar chain in Sungai Dua here yesterday.

Last Friday, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow announced that coffee shops and restaurants in the state were allowed to provide dine-in services again starting yesterday.

To facilitate the dine-in process, Chow said the state had introduced the Penang Contact Tracer or PGCare to register the names and contact numbers of each visitor entering the eateries.

Each customer needs to complete three steps – scan the QR code, fill in personal information, and make a declaration to the operators of food and beverage premises upon check-in.

The system can be accessed via or

Teoh said he was happy with the safety measures and precautions taken by Penang in handling the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said he would probably bring his family out for a nice dinner soon.

“We will follow the standard operating procedures. It is important for them to take down our details and check our temperature.

“Some may find it tedious, but it is worthwhile as I am looking forward to bringing my family along for a meal,” he said.

Mechanic Heng Tek Hock, 60, who has just returned to work recently, said he was happy to be having economy rice at one of his favourite joints.

“It feels good to be back at work as it means I will now have an income.

“It is nice to be eating at this stall as well.

“I have been out of work for the past two months, and have been eating home-cooked food.

“I am so used to eating out as there is a variety of dishes for me to enjoy,” he said, adding it was comfortable eating out as the tables were spaced out properly at the coffee shop.

Driver S. Govindasamy, 54, said he was pleased to be seated as he finished a bowl of laksa at his favourite place after almost two months.

“Social distancing is important, but being able to eat out right after your order is so much different from take-aways,” he said.

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