Holidaying with precautions


Hand me some: Amar (left) sharing his sanitiser with a friend on a visit to Chew Jetty in George Town, Penang. — CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: Tourists visiting the George Town heritage enclave are ensuring their own safety by donning face masks, maintaining physical distancing and sanitising their hands regularly.

Despite the recent increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in the country, tourists here are generally following the Health Ministry’s standard operating procedures.

Hospital clinic employee M. Mageswaran, 39, and his family from Kuala Lumpur, had their masks on at all times while posing for photos at Armenian Street.

“My family and I decided to visit Penang for the weekend and this is my first outstation trip since the movement control order (MCO) was enforced in March.

“I believe taking precautionary measures is the best way to protect ourselves.

“We wear masks at all times, keep a distance from others and sanitise our hands from time to time.

“We decided not to bring along our older relatives and children as they fall under the high-risk category,” Mageswaran said.

Technician Amar Alias, 20, from Arau, Perlis, who was visiting his girlfriend in Butterworth on the mainland, said they decided to drop by Chew Jetty as both of them were free over the weekend.

“We decided to drop by here as it is an open-air area and we feel safe.

“The last time we came was before the MCO and we managed to take many nice pictures.

“We keep hand sanitiser in the bag and use it frequently,” he said.

Makeup artist Gladys Lim, 21, who was in town on a work trip, said she was hesitant at first about having lunch at Chew Jetty.

“I am a bit worried about my safety and insisted on putting on my mask at all times and sanitising my hands after touching any surface,” Lim said.

Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) national board vice-president Khoo Boo Lim said there were some cancellations when Penang reported several positive Covid-19 cases.

“The MAH secretariat had recently sent out a survey to gather some figures on the impact of the recent surge in positive cases and we will see what we can do from there,” Khoo said.

Penang Hill Corporation general manager Datuk Cheok Lay Leng said there is a steady flow of tourists to the island’s famed funicular railway spot.“Despite the increase in Covid-19 cases, there are visitors still coming to Penang Hill.

“But due to bad weather, train ridership has dropped significantly.

“We are seeing less than 3,000 for weekends and several hundreds to 1,000 on weekdays, of which about 20% to 30% are hikers,” he said.

Entopia by Penang Butterfly Farm chief executive officer Joseph Goh said business had picked up in September by 20% and 40%.“Visitor arrival percentage was good between Sept 14 and Sept 27.

“But due to the increase in positive Covid-19 cases in Penang, the number of tourists dropped this month.

“We hope that the pandemic will be contained as soon as possible so that our tourism industry at year end will not be affected so much,” Goh said.

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