Hotspots empty even on public holiday

No crowds: Trishaw riders in the heritage enclave of Armenian Street experiencing a lull as Penangites adhere to the Covid-19 SOP on Labour Day in George Town. — ZHAFARAN NASIB/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: Despite the Labour Day public holiday falling on a weekend this year, many people are observing the standard operating procedure (SOP) by staying home, with only a few seen outdoors.

The usually crowded Armenian Street located in the heritage enclave here was visited by only a handful of people.

The street was so quiet that some traders came out of their shops to catch some fresh air.

Souvenir seller Angeline Rheza, 27, who has been trading here for two years, said the area was usually crowded with both locals and tourists on weekends and public holidays before the movement control order was implemented last year.

“There are only a handful of people here today.

“Our sales have dropped by almost 100% as there are no international tourists. Interstate travel is also not allowed.

“We usually earn up to around RM400 a day. But now, there are no sales at all on some days, ” she added.

A software engineer, who wished to be known only as Yee, 41, was spotted taking photos of his wife with the famous Children on Bicycle mural.

Yee, a Penangite, said he decided to bring his wife to visit the mural as she had been looking forward to it.

“Before the Covid-19 outbreak, we hardly came to this area on a public holiday as it would be packed with tourists and traffic jams.

“Due to the hot weather, we also usually do not visit local tourist attractions.

“But since my wife is interested in the mural, we decided to come here and check it out.

“We were surprised to see so few people here and she didn’t even have to line up to take a picture with the mural, ” he said.

Meanwhile, an outdoors enthusiast decided to make good use of the holiday by sweating it out on a hike up Penang Hill with his friends.

Accountant George Tan, 34, said he used to hike every weekend before the MCO was implemented last year.

“My friends and I made it a point to go hiking at different hills on the island every week prior to the pandemic.

“It was a time for us to catch up with each other while exercising.

“Since the Covid-19 outbreak, we have been staying at home most of the time.

“It has been so long since I last saw my hiking buddies.

“We had a good time hiking up Penang Hill although I realised that my stamina has deteriorated due to the lack of exercise, ” he quipped.

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