KUALA LUMPUR, May 1 – The government has listed various activities in certain business sectors that will remain prohibited to avoid Covid-19 transmission, even when most lockdown measures are lifted next Monday.
According to the National Security Council’s (NSC) “SOP Pembukaan Semula Ekonomi Versi 1 Mei 2020” that was posted on its Telegram channel, most economic sectors and social activities can resume on May 4, subject to standard operating procedures (SOP) on safe distancing.
“The SOP takes into account new norms in the running of business and daily life. The approach taken by the government is a whole-of-society approach,” said the NSC.
“Individuals are responsible for taking care of themselves and their family; the local community is responsible for ensuring safety and harmony among neighbours; and the employer is responsible for ensuring that workers and business operations practice good hygiene, besides following the SOP”.
The new norms comprise four things: health measures, good hygiene, infection control, and avoiding gatherings.
Health measures include practicing safe distancing of at least one metre, two preferably, in all situations; as well as preferably wearing face masks at all times, compulsory in certain situations.
Good hygiene covers frequently washing hands with soap or using hand sanitisers; business preparing these facilities for workers and customers; and sanitising premises at least twice a day.
Infection control comprises setting up protocols to monitor disease and prevent Covid-19 transmission; checking all workers every day for coronavirus symptoms (according to the World Health Organization, the most common symptoms are fever, dry cough, and tiredness); using suitable protective gear if social distancing is not possible; reporting to the Health Department any information about possible Covid-19 infections; and training workers to take action if suspected cases occur.
Avoiding gatherings include social activities that involve crowds, like the cinema, football stadiums, and nightclubs that remain prohibited; team sports and sports that involve bodily contact are banned; and feasts, open houses, and religious and cultural activities are either banned or strictly limited.
“Therefore, the government will determine the level of the Movement Control Order (MCO) based on the stage of the Covid-19 epidemic when it incurs a heavy burden on the health system,” said the NSC.
The government also encouraged the public to use the MySejahtera app that lists Covid-19 hotspots in the country.
The NSC listed several activities that remain banned from May 4 based on the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) justification: difficulty in controlling situations involving a crowd of people at any one time; possibility of exposure to respiratory droplets; difficulty in controlling behaviour, unavoidable possibility of close contact for a long period of time; and remaining in closed and confined spaces for a long period of time.
“This list will be reviewed from time to time, while the reopening of economic sectors in this list will be done in stages, depending on the current health situation and business preparedness.”
The NSC listed various activities under 23 business and social sectors that will not be allowed to resume, even when most of the economy will reopen and people will be free to move around from May 4, except for mass gatherings and interstate travel that will remain prohibited, even during Hari Raya celebrations late next month.
Under entertainment and leisure — cinemas, karaoke centres, theme parks, museums, and busking are not allowed.
Under festivals, parades and gatherings — religious parades, religious gatherings in mosques or houses of worship, and anniversary celebration parades are not permitted. Hari Raya celebrations are only allowed with close family members, and the decision on travelling for Hari Raya will be announced later.
Under conferences and exhibitions — job fairs, wedding fairs, travel fairs and promotions, sale carnivals and any types of conferences that will cause mass gatherings are not allowed.
Under education — sports during school hours, face-to-face co-curricular activities, any types of assemblies and events that require gatherings of more than 10 people are still banned. Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced earlier today that schools, colleges, and higher education institutions are expected to remain closed for some time.
Under sports — competitions that involve an audience, indoor sports including gymnasiums, swimming pools, as well as contact sports like rugby, boxing and football are not allowed.
Under social activities — any events, weddings, and anniversary celebrations and the like are not allowed.
Under transport — yachts are not allowed to operate.
Under businesses/vendors with or without premises/ markets in buildings, markets without premises, grocery stores/ stores selling assorted food and drinks — having too many customers at one time (depending on the 1m distance), Ramadan bazaars, and Hari Raya bazaars are still banned.
Under staff-centred accommodation/ hostels/ worker dormitories in the manufacturing sectors and others — receiving visitors, socialising and group sports activities, and group religious activities are prohibited.
As for machinery assembly and maintenance (lift, escalators, and others) for service sectors/ tower care in construction sites — working with more than 10 people in a group is not allowed.
Under boutiques and fashion accessories — dress-fitting is not allowed.
Under laundry services (specifically self-service laundries) — clothes-folding activities are not allowed.
Talks, seminars, courses, and face-to-face trainings; certification activities for agri-commodity; as well as barber shops and beauty salons are still under a ban.
As for banking and financial services — sales and marketing activities outside of the premise of the institution, or at any public places, are prohibited until further notice.
Under forest management — forest ecotourism and forestry training are not allowed.
Under mining and quarrying — new applications for theory and practical tests of explosion are not allowed.
Under farming and agriculture — customer meeting days, farm products sale days, fruits festivals, courses and seminars, agriculture institutions’ convocations, as well as auctions of farm products like chicken, meat and eggs are prohibited.
Under fisheries — recreational fishing activities as well as Sea Parks, exhibitions and aquariums are banned from operating.
Under creative arts — movie shootings, and programmes and concerts that involve the public in the studio or even in public places are not allowed.
Under culture and arts — any exhibition that involves interactions between visitors and artists is banned.
And under tourism and hotels — usage of hotel facilities like prayer areas, gyms, spa, saunas, lounges, swimming pools, meeting rooms, seminar rooms, training rooms, restaurant and cafes (for buffet purposes) are prohibited.