Pet shop owners happy doors can stay open

IPOH: Many pet shop owners were happy to learn their businesses are allowed to operate during the total lockdown.

However, most have turned to the Internet to sell their products to customers.

A shop manager, who wished to be known as Tam, said the experience from the first movement control order had pushed him to go digital.

Tan noted they were unprepared during the first MCO, but started their online business after a few weeks.

“Business has been good since then and I am able to continue employing my workers.

“We are earning more from online sales as most customers are not comfortable coming to our shop,” he added.

Tam noted many of his regular customers were buying pet food in bulk.

Norasilah Najiah Mohd Yusof said her business was also doing quite well.

“Aside from selling pet food, we also have toys and provide grooming and boarding services for cats.

“We still receive customers on a daily basis but we did have some cancellation for grooming services as customers were worried about coming to the shop,” she said.

“It has been a challenge and is a trying time for all businesses.

“We really hope things will get better soon,” she added.

In JOHOR BARU, a business group here said the lockdown must be accompanied with financial assistance to help people survive its economic impact.

Johor Baru Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Low Kueck Shin said the lockdown would be much more damaging for businesses compared to the first MCO in March last year.

“The scenario then and now are very different too, in terms of the severity of the Covid-19 cases as well as the business owners’ financial situation.

“Johor Baru, being a border city, is heavily reliant on tourists and economic activities from across the border. During the first round of MCO, business owners could still pull through with the help of their financial reserves.

“After more than a year, many businesses have used up their savings and might not be able to survive this round of lockdown,” he said, adding that many small businesses especially eateries in the city centre have chosen to close shop in the recent months.

Low said the government need to come up with more financial packages and economic policies targeted at specific sectors in order to help the people more effectively, instead of just giving out one-off financial handouts.

Johor Malay Non-governmental Organisations Coalition Council president Zaini Atan said that an automatic loan moratorium should be provided.

“While we welcome the lockdown to control the pandemic, it is obvious that many will suffer from the economic impact of the measure. The loan moratorium will give the public some space to breath,” he said.

He also urged the authorities to be more strict when it comes to giving approval for inter-state travel.

Johor Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry secretary Datuk K. Krishnan said the public, as well as the business community have expected a full lockdown.

“I think that the public and businesses are prepared for it and will not have much trouble following the SOPs.

“Most businesses are already hardly making any profits and are in fact running at a loss since MCO 3.0 and the lockdown will not make much difference to them as things are already bad to begin with.

“However, the government must give some form of assistance to help the people survive as they have been in dire situation for more than a year,” he said.

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