Entertainment outlets seek govt intervention amid MCO

KUALA LUMPUR: Operators of entertainment outlets such as bistros, bars and clubs are seeking help after they were unable to operate since the movement control order (MCO) began in March.

Restaurant and Bistro Owners Association president William Lee said while outlets that also served food could still survive by offering takeaways, the purely entertainment-related outlets had to remain shut due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The past seven months have been very challenging and we need help to transform the way we operate and stay on.

“Without government intervention soon, more businesses will close and jobs will be lost. The situation could be disastrous, ” he told a press conference at Wisma MCA here yesterday.

Since the first round of the MCO began on March 18, Lee said entertainment-related food and beverage outlets had suffered over 70% in losses.

“Some premises have been operating at a reduced capacity. Those not allowed to open at all have zero business until today. But fixed costs such as rental and workers’ salaries have to be serviced, ” he said.

Lee said since the entertainment-related outlets were still not able to operate, they hoped the local councils would allow those with entertainment licences to convert the use of their premises.

“For example, allow us to sell food, do online sales or rent out the space for other uses, ” he said.

Lee said that over 30,000 people had lost their jobs in the food, beverage and entertainment industry in the Klang Valley alone, such as chefs, bartenders, service staff, live bands and cleaners.

“We hope the government can help in terms of tax relief and waiver of assessment to landlords leasing their premises to licensed operators, ” he said.

MCA Public Services and Complaints Department head Datuk Seri Michael Chong, who is the association’s adviser, also called for a clear set of standard operating procedure (SOP) for the industry.

“We need a clear SOP and the dos and don’ts because businesses cannot operate unknowingly and risk being fined for flouting the rules, ” he said.

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