PETALING JAYA: With the back-to-back festive season coming up, many Malaysians are excited about going back on traditional shopping sprees that are part and parcel of the holidays.
With the reopening of state borders, the Christmas and Chinese New Year celebrations will likely see a dramatic increase in holiday shoppers.
However, they are also cautious over reports on the Omicron variant of Covid-19.
A project manager, who only wanted to be known as Mathu, said the holiday season with its sales is the period he looks forward to to purchasing all sorts of merchandise and goods.
“I feel like a lot of Malaysians do so too,” said the 35-year-old, adding that he is however taking extra precautions.
“We have a constant supply of self-test kits at home as you can get them very easily these days. We do weekly tests on top of sanitising ourselves and the car every time we go out in public,” he said.
A businessman who only wanted to be known as Wan said festive seasons would help businesses everywhere, adding that there are now not as many restrictions and customers would be more willing to spend as they visit the stores physically.
“Even though there are no cases of the Omicron variant in the country, the public should still be wary and take the necessary precautions to keep ourselves safe.
“As for me and my family, we each have sanitisers on hand anywhere we go as we believe that this is the best way to keep ourselves safe,” he added.
Sarawakian Jessie Rose, 55, said Malaysians should accept the fact that there would always be new variants of the Covid-19 virus.
“There will always be changes, as can be seen with this new variant, but I think we need to accept the fact that this is the new normal now... but of course we still need to be safe and follow the standard operating procedure (SOP),” she said.
In Johor Baru, businesses said they are closely adhering to the SOP imposed by the government, especially now with the emergence of the Omicron variant.
Businessman S. Sures, 49, who runs a shop selling clothes and textiles in the city centre, said that despite enjoying an increase in sales since Johor moved into Phase Four of the National Recovery Plan, he still remains careful and puts the SOP as his first priority.
“We have only started seeing some improvements in the past two months and we cannot afford to have another lockdown.
“We are worried that if the Omicron variant is found in our country, it may lead to another lockdown, which will put our business at even greater risk,” he said.
Sures added that the land Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL-Land) with Singapore that was just launched would help boost local businesses.
“However, we still need to be extra careful, especially when it comes to travellers entering the country from the Causeway,” he added.
Restaurant owner Lee Fu Soon, 51, expressed concern as the public had got too comfortable and were taking the SOP lightly now that more relaxations had been granted by the authorities.
“I can see that customers are getting less and less committed to following the SOP and I keep reminding them to scan their MySejahtera app and put their face masks on when they are waiting for their food or leaving my restaurant,” Lee said.Mobile cafe owner Mohd Fauzi Azmi, 52, said it is important for everyone, including business owners, to do their part in containing the spread of Covid-19.
“Following the SOP can help curb the spread of the pandemic as it is still a big threat to us.
“As business owners, we have to be more responsible and remind our customers to follow the SOP that is already in place to protect them and us from Covid-19,” he added.