Sarawak Reopening Tourism June 17, But Hotel Pools And Bars Remain Closed

By Sharon Lee | 15 June 2020

Hotels are still prohibited from reopening their sauna, swimming pool, lounge, pub, bar, karaoke and buffet restaurant.

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KUCHING, June 15 — Non-Muslim places of worship in Sarawak will be allowed to resume services on June 20, while 24-hour outlets will be permitted to operate fully on June 17.

The Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) also said standard operating procedures (SOP) have been submitted by the Ministry of Women, Family Welfare and Child Development for refinement, and kindergartens are set to resume operation on July 1.

“All operations that provide 24-hour service are allowed, such as oil stations, 7-Eleven, KFC, McDonald’s, and 24-hour food stores. However, in their management, guidelines and SOP should always be followed,” Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Douglas Uggah Embas told a press conference today.

He also announced that the Sarawak Islamic Religious Department has issued guidelines for marriage ceremonies during the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO) period that began on June 10 and is set to end on August 31, amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

Guidelines for the tourism, arts and culture sector have also been discussed and approved by SDMC. The sector will resume operation on June 17, in accordance with the SOP set by the Sarawak Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MTAC).

Sarawak Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, at the press conference today, announced the relevant SOP for the reopening of the tourism, arts and culture sectors.

Tour operators, tour guides, homestays, hotels, adventure and extreme tourism, scuba diving and snorkeling, and theme parks (dry park only) will be allowed to operate with compliance to the SOP and guidelines established by SDMC.

“Basic guidelines on social distancing, personal hygiene, temperature scanning, sanitisation of public facilities should be observed.

“Staff, guests and contractors must download MySejahtera and COVIDTrace Sarawak apps to facilitate necessary contact tracing,” said Abdul Karim, noting that overseas travel packages are still not allowed to be sold by tour operators at this moment.

“Operators are encouraged to do tour packages promotion through online marketing. No promotional exhibition or roadshows are allowed until authorised by the government,” he added.

MTAC also announced that hoteliers can resume bookings for meeting rooms or conference halls, but only up to 50 per cent of its original capacity. Attendees are required to practice strict social distancing of at least one metre at all times.

“A record of attendee’s details must be kept for at least six months. Sauna, swimming pool, lounge, pub, bar, karaoke and buffet restaurant are not allowed,” said Abdul Karim.

Museums, art galleries, archives, handicraft centres and memorials can resume operation on June 17, but interactive areas need to remain closed to visitors, while children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by adults.

The creative industry sector, such as production houses and studios, can resume operation for music production, filming, videography, photography, graphic design and animation on June 17.

“The filming production crew shall provide their traveling record for the past 4 weeks for applications of the necessary license and permits before they can start their operation.

“MySejahtera and COVIDTrace Sarawak are compulsory to be downloaded and registered by all the production crew,” said Abdul Karim.

MTAC also announced that music, dance, and theatre schools and photography studios will be allowed to resume operation on June 17. Participants or students below the age of 18 must provide their parents’ approval with valid proof to the operator before conducting any activities.

“Encourage participants (or) students to bring and use their own instruments. Individual instruments like keyboards, violins, guitars, et cetera,” Abdul Karim said.

National parks (NP) under the management of Sarawak Forestry Corporation will also be opened in stages on June 17 and on June 22.

Kubah NP, Gunung Gading NP, Tanjung Datu NP, Santubong NP, Talang-Satang NP, Wind/Fairy Cave NP, Batang Ai NP, Samajaya NP, Maludam NP, Gunung Mulu NP, Lambir NP, Niah NP, Loagan Bunut NP and Pulong Tau NP will be reopened on June 17.

Bako NP, Semenggoh WC, Kuching Wetland NP and Miri-Sibuti Coral Reef NP will be reopened on June 22.

The Sarawak tourism, arts and culture minister announced that for national parks, leisure and adventure activities, nature walk, caving, snorkeling and scuba diving with/without company of park guide, wildlife viewing activities, and expedition activities in totally protected areas and wildlife centres will be allowed.

“However, for leisure trekking, only a maximum of 10 pax per group are allowed to enter at any one time per trail.

“(For) adventure, only a minimum of two and maximum of eight people per group are allowed to enter at any one time per trail,” he said.

He also added that only forest trails not exceeding a three to five-hour walk will be allowed access. As for adventure caving, a minimum of two and a maximum of eight per group are allowed to enter at any time with a required guide.

Update at 9.20pm: The SDMC issued a statement after Uggah’s press conference, clarifying that 24-hour services would be allowed to operate fully on June 17, not immediately as stated earlier. The headline and lede of the story have been amended accordingly.

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