GEORGE TOWN: Being out in the open and away from crowds are among the criteria for some parents who want to take their children for an outing during the weekend.
Several families who were spotted at the beaches in Tanjung Bungah and Batu Ferringhi said they came early to enjoy a picnic and have a dip in the sea before the crowds started trickling in.
At Miami Beach, accounts manager Nur Saffia Zulkifly, 35, who was with her mother, husband and two children, said after being cooped up at home for months, they decided to treat themselves to a leisurely breakfast by the sea.
“We dare not go to places like malls or shopping centres, so outdoor activities are for us,” she said.
Another family was spotted enjoying sandwiches and nasi lemak on a makeshift picnic table they assembled themselves.
Technician Jalina Ishak, 38, came with her husband and two children aged seven and eight.
“We decided to get here by 8am as we wanted to avoid the crowd.
“The last time we took our kids for a picnic was before March last year,” she said.
At another beach near Tanjung Bungah, groups of families started arriving as early as 7am, with many enjoying a light breakfast and a little relaxation.
Alvin Ooi, who was with his family, said they wanted an outing together after months of staying indoors.
“We miss the good times and activities we can do together,” said the 32-year-old restaurant owner
“As we have children with us, we try to find places with good ventilation and are spacious,” he added.
Over in Batu Uban, no crowds were seen below the Penang Bridge where families, friends and fishing enthusiasts commonly congregate.
Only a few cyclists were seen passing through occasionally.
On Sept 16, Penang police chief Comm Datuk Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain conducted an outreach programme on standard operating procedure compliance at Gurney Plaza, Miami Beach and Shamrock Beach in Batu Ferringhi.
He said police were monitoring public areas and added that relevant agencies would be advised to close these if the public were found violating the SOP.
He said checks on several hotspots in Penang on Malaysia Day showed there was no overcrowding.