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KUCHING, Sept 17: The dine-in ban is set to be lifted once the restriction order expires on Sept 19 and all eateries in Kuching and other southern districts in Sarawak can resume full operation from Monday (Sept 20) onwards.
Apart from Kuching, the districts in the southern zone include Lundu, Bay, Serian, Tebedu, Samarahan, Asajaya and Simunjan.
In an announcement today, the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) emphasised that indoor dining is allowed, subjected to conditions that operators, workers and customers must be fully vaccinated and at least two weeks have passed after receiving their second dose of Covid-19 vaccine.
Secondly, it is compulsory for business operators to ensure good ventilation and air flow in their premises in accordance with the standards issued by the Ministry for Local Government Housing (MLGH).
Business operation hours for southern districts which are still under Phase 2 of the National Recovery Plan (NRP) have been lengthened by two hours, from 5am to 10pm.
The midnight curfew which was imposed since Sept 5 is maintained throughout southern districts as individuals and groups of people are not allowed to be out in public places after 12 midnight until 5am without reasonable excuses.
This order will come into effect from Sept 20 onwards.
The lifting of the dine-in ban will provide much needed relief to the food and beverage (F&B) sector especially in the southern districts of Sarawak, which was disrupted since Aug 20.
SDMC had halted indoor dining and shortened business operation hours to 8pm in southern districts for one week starting on Aug 20 as it took extra precautionary measures to control and contain the further increase in new infections and clusters driven by the Covid-19 Delta variant.
Two days before the order was due to expire, SDMC extended the restriction for another week until Sept 5 after taking into consideration the high daily caseload in the southern district.
As the number of cases continued to climb higher, SDMC extended the ban for the second time and this time for two weeks until Sept 19 but allowed eateries to operate for takeaways until 10pm.
Even though Sarawak is among the top states in Malaysia with a high vaccination rate as 89 per cent of its adult population has been fully vaccinated as of Sept 16, it is important that everyone continues to play their roles and be socially responsible by adhering to the standard operating procedures (SOP) when out in public places.
The public must continue to be on highest alert to protect not only themselves but their families, loved ones and the wider community from Covid-19 and help Sarawak defeat this highly contagious disease, SDMC said.
The basic SOPs that must be practised at all times include proper wearing of face masks, keeping a safe distance from others, high standards of hygiene, frequent washing of hands or using sanitisers and spending limited time in public places. — DayakDaily