Ban on dine-in on the cards if Covid-19 cases rise in Sibu

Customers patronising a coffee shop in Sibu.

Follow and subscribe to DayakDaily on Telegram for faster news updates.

SIBU, Aug 26: Dining in at eateries in Sibu could be banned if the town continues to record triple-digit gains in new Covid-19 cases.

According to Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) chairman Clarence Ting, a temporary ban on dine-in could be reimposed if Covid-19 cases in Sibu exhibited an uptrend where the riverine town is currently under Phase Three of the National Recovery Plan (NRP).

“This sudden spike in the positive numbers in SMC areas is worrisome. From the zones, it shows that Covid-19 is widespread in SMC areas. Almost every place has a positive case,” he said in a Facebook post.

Clarence Ting (file photo)

Sibu district reported a total of 125 Covid-19 cases yesterday according to statistics from the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC).

Out of the 125 cases, SMC areas recorded 77 cases followed by 45 cases in Sibu Rural District Council (SRDC) areas and three imported cases.

With Covid-19 cases widespread in Sibu, Ting believed a temporary ban on dine-in could help stem the increase in coronavirus cases caused by poor compliance with standard operating procedures (SOPs) in coffee shops and bistros.

On the contrary, Sibu Coffeeshop and Restaurant Owners Association chairman Tong Ing Kok disagreed with Ting and believed that the authorities should just penalise eateries which did not follow SOPs as opposed to imposing a total ban on dining in.

“If 50 per cent of eateries are not following the SOP, then it is right to impose a ban on dine-in. But here, there were only two to three eateries not strictly adhering to the SOP which include food handlers not wearing masks. Go after them instead of penalising everybody,” he said.

Tong Ing Kok

Tong proposed the council let eatery operators decide whether they allow dine-in service or otherwise.

He opined that it is not appropriate to put all the blame on eateries for the sudden spike in Covid-19 cases.

“I agree that dine-ins do pose a risk of Covid-19 infection. But you must also know that records have shown that the coronavirus can also spread at other places and not just in eatery premises. So be fair to us,” he said.

While acknowledging that some food operators did not comply with the SOPs outlined, Tong urged operators not to be selfish but to comply for the benefit of all. — DayakDaily