Another MCO is a no-go, say traders


Crowded spaces: Many members of the public still opt to wear face masks, especially in packed places, to stay safe at a bus terminal in Seremban. — Bernama

GEORGE TOWN: Not wanting a repeat of the movement control order (MCO), eateries, hawkers and hotels here have already been observing various Covid-19 precautions while respectfully protecting their customers’ personal liberties.

A visit to the many cafes, bistros and hawker stalls in the heritage enclave showed that nearly all operators mask up while bottles of sanitiser are prominently placed at their entrance.

“We cannot afford another MCO and depend only on delivery orders and takeaways.

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“We won’t be able to survive,” said a cafe owner at Armenian Street, Marlina Idris Khan, 36, yesterday.

Marlina recently added a new rule to her cafe’s operations: all staff members must have their temperature taken before they start work.

She said her staff had been masking up and regularly sanitising surfaces since months ago.

As a small organisation, even if one employee catches Covid-19 and quarantines for five days, it is a blow to everyone as they have to cover for one downed colleague.

But for customers, she said she can’t impose such rules since they are voluntary.

Marlina feels that regularly keeping surfaces sanitised is an important step to Covid-19 prevention, along with frequent hand washing.

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She said if any of her staff feels unwell, they are advised to stay home and do rounds of self-testing and get immediate treatment if necessary.

William Loh, 45, who serves fried noodles at the Bayan Baru food court, keeps his mask on at all times.

“We will follow the rules, just don’t reinstate the MCO again because it’s not easy for us to recover from it,” he said.

At present, he practises the norms of wearing a face mask and gloves, while also using hand sanitiser regularly.

Penang Koo Soo Kwong Choon Tong Restaurant and Tea Shop Association chairman Vinah Yee said although many coffee shop operators are worried about the recent spike, she believes that experience from the two years of MCO has taught them well.

“When we first faced the problem, we were not sure what the problem was; now, everyone is aware of the threat and knows how to handle it,” she said.

She said almost all hawkers in Penang gladly follow the government guidelines on Covid-19 and general hygiene.

Granite Luxury Hotel general manager Moh Wei Ken said it implemented many enhanced safety measures to ensure the well-being of its guests and staff.

“Among the key measures is reinstating mandatory face mask use for all staff members while indoors,” he said.

The hotel has also increased the frequency of sanitising surfaces in all common areas and regularly touched items from handrails to elevator buttons, lobby furniture and swimming pool facilities.

Moh said the aim is to provide a safe and clean environment for everyone.

“Each room undergoes a rigorous sanitisation process after every check-out; it’s a standard practice at our hotel,” he added.

State health committee chairman Daniel Gooi advised those in the food and beverage business to always be vigilant and take note of any symptoms experienced by their staff.

He reminded them to always put on their masks and gloves when dealing with customers and handling food.

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covid-19 , penang , mco , masks

   

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