More sectors to reopen

KUALA LUMPUR: Petrol stations, eateries and convenience stores in all states will soon be allowed to open until midnight, regardless of which phase of the National Recovery Plan (NRP) they are in.

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said this was one of the decisions reached at the Covid-19 Ministerial Quartet meeting that discussed reopening economic and social sectors.

“The ministerial quartet’s second meeting agreed that operators of petrol stations, eateries and convenience stores can open their outlets from 6am to midnight, across all phases of the NRP.

“The exception will only be for localities placed under an enhanced movement control order,” he said.

He added that the decision will be brought to the Special Committee on Pandemic Management, chaired by Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, today.

“The Prime Minister will announce the decision once it is approved,” Hishammuddin told a press conference at Parliament after the meeting.

Currently, petrol stations, marts and eateries in Phase One areas can only open between 8am and 8pm while in Phase Two states, it’s 6am to 10pm.

The ministerial quartet comprises Hishammuddin, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, Communications and Multimedia Minister Tan Sri Annuar Musa and Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz.

Also present at the meeting were Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri and Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu.

The ministerial quartet also heard Nancy’s proposal for the travel bubble initiative to be expanded to three new destinations: Melaka, Pulau Tioman and Genting Highlands.

“We have identified these three locations, which will be given two weeks to make the necessary preparations before reopening,” she said at the press conference.

She added that tentatively, these three tourist destinations may reopen on Oct 1 and that the authorities will further discuss the standard operating procedure (SOP).

“For example, should swab tests be compulsory? The same goes for Langkawi because there are many entry points, so we need to deliberate on the SOP.”

Nancy also said the recent tourism bubble pilot project at Langkawi was viewed as a success.

“The performance at Langkawi gave us new hope to reopen other destinations for domestic tourism and not just islands,” she added.

On interstate travel, Hishammuddin said this will be gradually allowed as the pandemic heads towards an endemic phase in the country.

He reminded Malaysians to abide by the SOP at all times to keep Covid-19 at bay.

“What is important here is that there is light at the end of the tunnel (for tourism),” he added.

On Monday, Nancy told the Dewan Rakyat that the estimated loss in tourism revenue last year was RM135bil.

Meanwhile, following the reopening of gyms and bowling alleys, the Youth and Sports Ministry will be looking at allowing football fans back into stadiums.

Ahmad Faizal said the reopening has to be accompanied by a strict SOP, adding that football fans may be able to catch live matches of the upcoming Malaysia Cup.

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