Eateries urged to study rules before opening up

PETALING JAYA: Eateries should carefully study the rules allowing the fully vaccinated to dine in before opening up their premises in certain states, say restaurant operators.

Malaysia-Singapore Coffeeshop Proprietors Association president Wong Teu Hoon said the details behind the dine-in rules for states under Phase Two of the National Recovery Plan needed to be studied first.

“I think there is no rush to allow dine-in while the daily infections remain high and cases are still increasing in some states. It is better to consider dine-in at a later stage when a higher percentage of our population is fully vaccinated and when the cases are lower,” he said.

Wong, who is also Pan Malaysia Koo Soo Restaurants & Chefs Association president, said operators remained concerned about infections at their premises because the implications and costs were not worth the risk.

Welcoming the relaxation, Perak Ku Soo Shun Choon Hong (Chinese Restaurants and Food Operators) Association president Chan Kam hoped that the government would allow more than two people to a table for dine-ins.

“Some bigger restaurants would rather not operate because the cost is higher than what they can make. But dine-in is good for other smaller-scale food operators.

“We will see what are the details when the National Security Council makes the announcement later,” he said.

Malaysian Indian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association (Presma) Datuk Jawahar Ali Taib Khan said while they welcome the move, dine-in would not be allowed for restaurant operators in the Klang Valley at the moment.

“Presma has about 4,500 members operating about 12,500 restaurants nationwide, with the concentration in Klang Valley. Many are still under Phase One and will not be allowed to offer dine-in,” he said.

He said while dine-ins might now be allowed for those fully vaccinated in states under Phase Two, many customers were unlikely to hang around.

“Many will likely stay for about 30 minutes to have their meal and leave. This is because many customers have already gotten used to takeaways,” he said, adding that restaurant operators would also have to think about the safety of their workers.

“We have to look after not only the safety of our customers but that of our workers as well,” he said, adding that many workers were already vaccinated.

All states have transitioned to Phase Two and beyond except for Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Negri Sembilan, Kedah, Johor, Melaka and Putrajaya.

Malaysia Tourism Council president Uzaidi Udanis said it might take some time for people to travel again.

“The announcement is timely as we have already laid the ground work in anticipation of this.

“It’s about time that we learn to adapt and live with the virus as how Singapore and Thailand are doing,” he said, adding that the biggest challenge now was for the industry to rebuild confidence for travel.

“There is still perception and fear among the public owing to the new Covid-19 variants.

“The impact of the announcement will not be felt immediately as it will take some time for people to feel confident to travel again,” he said.

Uzaidi, who also heads the Malaysian Inbound Tourism Association, said many tourist operators had concluded business for destinations such as Langkawi, Selangor and Melaka even before the announcement.

“They are all hyped up to start their operations again,” he said, adding that those allowed to travel were likely to opt for nearby destinations.

Malaysian Association of Hotels Penang chairman K. Raj Kumar said the announcement was welcomed by the hotel industry.

“We are excited that we are allowed to open but we will be cautious by strictly following all SOP in place. It is a boost to domestic tourism and we expect the hotel industry to stay afloat with this incentive,” he said.

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