JOHOR BARU: Despite operating under the movement control order, some traders here continue to enjoy decent sales as Hari Raya Aidilfitri draws closer.
A check at a popular mall here saw that the annual rush for festive items such as cookies and clothes carried on as usual but with stricter standard operating procedures (SOP) in place and a smaller crowd.
Shop assistant Aisyah Razali, 22, said that while there has been a significant drop in the number of customers since Johor Baru was placed under the MCO on Friday (May 7), the sales she received exceed her expectation.
“Initially we thought that there would not be any customers once the MCO was implemented. We expected to see the mall being quiet and empty.
“Surprisingly, there are still a lot of people dropping by to look for clothes here. We believe that it is probably because this is the last weekend before Hari Raya, ” she said when met at the mall here.
She added that, however, most visitors now prefer coming alone or in smaller groups.
“We expect more people to come on the last few days before Hari Raya, ” she said, adding that the stall selling clothes here received an estimated of about 40 customers on the first day of the recently announced MCO.
Meanwhile, boutique owner Mohd Hairudin Mohd Yasin, 44, said that the number of customers he received on the second day of the MCO was higher than on the first day.
“When the MCO was put in place, we saw a drop of almost 50% on the first day (Friday) but things seem to improve the very next day.
“There has been an improvement in our Hari Raya sales this year compared to last year but we have yet to reach our target, ” he said.
He noted that the last couple of days before Hari Raya was typically the busiest time of the year for business here, especially in pre-pandemic times when the border with Singapore was still open.
Among those spotted shopping in the mall was housewife Alia Maisarah Ismail, 31, who was buying Hari Raya cookies and some ‘kurma’ (dates) for her family of four.
“We will normally bake our own cookies with the whole extended family when we return to our hometown in Batu Pahat about a week before Hari Raya.
“However, since we are unable to travel beyond Johor Baru this year, I decided to just buy some cookies for my family to keep the Hari Raya spirit alive, ” she said.
On Wednesday (May 5), Senior Minister (Security) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that several localities in Johor, Perak and Terengganu would be placed under MCO from May 7 to 20.
The localities in Johor are Johor Baru, Kulai and Kota Tinggi.
Ismail Sabri said that for the three districts in Johor, the number of active cases there was high, with most cases being sporadic within the community.
He said the three districts have been classified as red zones with more than 150 cases reported while the capacity in hospital and intensive care units have reached above 70%.