PETALING JAYA: As more businesses reopen due to the easing of Covid-19 regulations, many would expect bargain hunters to be turning up in droves at retail outlets.
Contrary to the belief, however, shop owners are not seeing the volume they expect at their outlets since the easing of restrictions.
The reason behind this, they reckon, is that people have become extremely cautious despite being fully vaccinated as they know that vaccines are not 100% effective at preventing infection.
In Kuala Lumpur, a carpet retail store worker, who only wanted to be known as Lim, said very few customers have visited the outlet since it resumed operations.
“Business was already slow before the pandemic; now it’s even worse under the current situation.
“We tried using online platforms to sell our products but the market is competitive,” he said, adding that less than 10 people have visited the outlet since it reopened.
In Klang, Sri Kumaran Textile managing director N. Ravichandran said shoppers were trickling in even though the Hindu marriage season is set to begin next month.
“People are simply terrified. We have been receiving at least 20 calls daily asking if it is safe to come by, if our store is regularly sanitised and if all our workers are vaccinated,” said Ravichandran.
He added that prior to the pandemic taking root, textile outlets would be filled to the brim with people shopping for wedding sarees during the marriage season.
In George Town, a toy store seemed to be having better luck with almost half of its regular customers returning to make purchases there.
Store manager, Lee Yat Seng said regular customers have contributed up to 40% of the sales since they reopened last month.
“Parents with children aged between five and seven have started buying bicycles for the kids to ride around the house compounds.
“The pandemic forced many to stay home. Parents want their children to enjoy the outdoors now that the restrictions have been lifted,” he said.
Malay Businessmen and Industrialists Association of Malaysia (Perdasama) president Mejar (R) Datuk Abdul Rahim Saad said businesses have to wait patiently until people are confident to venture out.
“People are traumatised due to the high number of cases and deaths due to Covid-19.
“It will take some time before they get over what has befallen the nation,” said Abdul Rahim.
“Once they have come to terms, we will see normalcy
He urged business owners to stay calm and patient until the dark clouds blow over.
It was announced this week that more economic sectors and all non-essential industries can now resume operations.
Under Phase Two and Three of the National Recovery Plan, the 11 businesses allowed to resume operations are those dealing in photo and photo services, used goods, crafts and souvenirs, antiques, toys, carpets, outdoor gadgets, cosmetics, skincare and perfume, and tobacco including vape products and e-cigarettes.
Florists and nurseries as well as industries linked to creative content creation have also been allowed to reopen.