Closing resto-bars by 11pm won't help contain virus, say F&B groups

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 03 Oct 2020

PETALING JAYA: Selangor state government must rethink the closing time of restaurants with bar services by 11pm as it won't help in stemming the Covid-19 pandemic, say three associations comprising food and beverage (F&B) operators.

In a statement on Saturday (Oct 3), the three associations – Malaysia Shopping Malls Association, Malaysia Retailers Association and Malaysia Retail Chain Association – voiced their unhappiness at being forced to close earlier than other businesses which can operate until 2am.

On Oct 2, Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Amirudin Shari announced that all restaurants with bars in the state must close their premises by 11pm.

Malaysia Shopping Malls Association President Tan Sri Teo Chiang Kok, speaking on behalf of the three associations, said such selective action targeted at certain businesses would not contain the disease and was also detrimental to the recovery of the economy.

"We are perplexed with this sudden change of operation hours when all businesses are allowed to operate up to 2am.

"We are all deeply concerned with the sudden spike in the Covid-19 cases in the past two days, and the industry and business community are supportive of actions that might mitigate this spread of the pandemic," he said.

However, he said the group believed this sudden change in operation hours on a certain category of business was not the solution.

It would be detrimental to the efforts to recover, revive and survive with the reopening of the economy, he said.

"Closing at 11pm has no relevance to the steps required to stem the spread of the disease.

"Strict observation of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) by everyone, from individuals to businesses, is the key to contain the spread of this disease.

"There is no correlation between operating hours in the bistro-bar business with the spike in the Covid-19 cases," said Teo.

He also called on Amirudin to rescind the ruling and allow all F&B outlets to open until 2am, while keeping strictly to the SOPs by the authorities.

Selangor is one of the three states, other than Sabah and Kedah, to have new clusters and sudden spike in Covid-19 cases in the past few days.

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