KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 9 — The government will permit dine-ins and reopen the retail sector from tomorrow, ahead of the Chinese New Year weekend, after Covid-19 infections dropped to below 4,000 daily over the past four days.
Senior Defence Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob justified the reopening during the Movement Control Order (MCO) by citing a report by United Nations agencies Unicef and UNFPA that found the socioeconomic conditions of low-income families living in public flats in Kuala Lumpur have deteriorated, as unemployment among heads of households doubled to 15 per cent last December.
“This will cause a negative impact on future planning not just for families, but also for the nation; in fact, it’s even worse when it affects the people’s mental health,” Ismail Sabri said in a statement today.
“Taking cognisance of this, little by little, the government is reopening the economic sector. Why? Because the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting people’s daily lives.”
Only two persons per table are permitted in eateries, with strict observation of one metre physical distancing.
“Before this, even though restaurants were allowed to open until 10pm, only takeaway services were allowed,” Ismail Sabri told a press conference today. “Yesterday’s meeting has agreed to allow dine-in at eateries.”
This new permission comes in less than one month after the prime minister prohibited all customers from eating in restaurants on January 11.
Ismail Sabri also added that all restaurant owners must assign at least one worker to ensure the entry and exit points of the premise and to record the attendance of all workers and customers.
The usage of MySejahtera application has also been made compulsory in areas with wider internet coverage, besides other state owned contact tracing applications.
“This order will be implemented immediately, however we do understand that certain rural areas do not have proper internet coverage. Thus, they are allowed to record the details of the customers manually.”
He also mentioned that other retail industries including clothing, cosmetics and photography are allowed to operate with strict standard operating procedures (SOP) starting from tomorrow.
“From the data obtained, the government believes that this sector does not contribute to Covid-19 clusters.”
The minister further reiterated that night clubs and entertainment centres would still not be permitted to operate, after the National Security Council (NSC) initially said pubs and bars would be allowed to provide takeaways. The entertainment industry would be closed for nearly a year now since March 18, 2020.
The stores allowed to operate starting from tomorrow are listed as below:
- Clothing, fashion and accessory shops
- Shoe shops
- Photography or photography-related services shops
- Used items shops
- Florist shops or nursery
- Craft and souvenir shops
- Antique shops
- Toy shops
- Carpet shops
- Creative industrial equipment shops
- Outdoor shops
- Sports equipment shops
- Household appliance and kitchen utensil shops
- Cosmetics, skincare and perfume shops
- Tobacco shops
- Vehicle accessory shops
- Ar-Rahnu (Islamic Mortgage)