People starting to throng the malls once again

Photo: FAIHAN GHANI/The Star

PETALING JAYA: Malls in the Klang Valley saw crowds that have been missing for months as city dwellers spent the weekends with their families and friends shopping or catching up.

With crowds at shopping malls growing bigger, sales assistants have the unenviable task of reminding patrons to observe the standard operating procedures as they attempt to minimise the risk of spreading Covid-19 at their premises.

Some retail outlets at a mall here imposed limits to enable customers to properly practice physical distancing as shoppers waited for their turn to enter the premises.

One of them, a clothing outlet with a sizable area only allowed 30 people in at any one time.

“Making sure customers observe physical distancing becomes even harder between 2pm and 5pm as that is when we usually have more customers at the shop, ” said 22-year-old shop assistant Mohd Izaham Zulkafliamin.

At a cinema in the mall, staff Nabila Shahidan, 19, noticed an uptick in moviegoers since cinemas reopened on March 5.

She said while most customers followed the SOP, there were others who were clearly not happy with sitting apart from each other inside the halls.

“We usually get such complaints from couples but rules are rules, ” she said.

Meanwhile, for some customers, stepping inside a mall while daily case numbers are still above 1,000 took a lot of courage.

A customer, who only wanted to be known as Hanun, 24, said that she only agreed to keep an appointment with a friend at a mall because she had not seen her in a long time due to the movement control order.

“I was very nervous and tried to avoid people as we made our way around.

“When we were at a shop, I made sure to get what I needed and then quickly made my way out, ” she added.

For 15-year-old student Nessa Lim and her friend Stephanie Lim, it was important to stay cautious and follow the SOP while shopping as Selangor was still under conditional MCO.

In GEORGE TOWN, several shopping malls were busy with patrons enjoying their meals and strolling around.

Student Nor Syifa’darwisyah Sharizal, 17, said it was nice to be out with her family after nearly two months at home.

“It has been a while since we are here. The last time I was at the mall was in January this year. Then when MCO 2.0 was imposed, we could not cross districts as I live in Gelugor.

“My parents, sister and I usually go to the shopping mall every weekend before the inter-district ban and MCO period” she said when met at a mall in Gurney Drive.

In JOHOR BARU, malls around the city however remained quiet with only a handful of people taking advantage of the more relaxed MCO.

A check at a popular mall found that a number of retail outlets were still closed, with some of them believed to have stopped operating for good.

While the number of visitors have increased compared to during the MCO, it was still a far cry from the busy atmosphere the malls used to experience, especially on weekends where dozens of Singaporeans would drop by to shop and have their meals in the city.

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