Coffeeshop association agrees with PM’s stringent conditions to reopen eateries

Tong Ing Kok

SIBU, May 1: The Sarawak Coffeeshop and Restaurant Owners’ Association is relieved that eating outlets can resume dine-in on May 4 (Monday) despite stringent attached conditions.

In response to Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today’s announcement of allowing resumption of dine-in in eateries, its deputy chairman, Tong Ing Kok said the announcement paved the way for eatery operators to gradual get back to business.

Tong said eatery operators will abide by the stringent conditions as “it is better than none”.

“They (the set conditions) are not a problem for us as we are now operating in a different situation due to Covid-19 pandemic. We have no choice as we need to help prevent the spread of the virus,” said Tong when contacted.

He said when movement control order (MCO) was enforced on March 18, eating outlets had been on semi-operation mode as they were only allowed to offer takeaways and delivery.

“We welcomed the announcement made by the Prime Minister pertaining to eating outlets. We have been on semi-operation mode and could not ‘harap’ on takeaways as business volume has been very low.

“Despite many conditions which we need to fulfil in order to get our businesses going, we are happy.  It is better than none,” he said.

Tong said they would definitely try to take down the particulars of their customers, though it can be a tedious process.

“I would suggest that the customers need also to write down their residential address for better reference,” he said.

On hand sanitizer, Tong opined that that would certainly incur extra expenses as a bottle of sanitizer with 75 per cent alcoholic content costs between RM40 to RM50.

“The provision of hand sanitizer is a basic thing and we would do it even if the Prime Minister had not stated so. We are now operating under a new normal where the people’s hygiene is of top priority,” he said.

On a one-metre distance between tables, he said it would result in the restaurant and coffeeshop operators displaying less tables, but he said, “we will abide by it”.

As for forehead thermometer, Tong said although it is costly, pricing at more than RM300 each, the association members are willing to spend on one.

Restaurants, coffeeshops and food trucks will be allowed to operate starting on Monday, May 4, announced Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

However, as it is still during the MCO period, strict observance of the SOP (standard operation procedure) on hygiene and social distancing must be observed to curb the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.

“Restaurants owners, food trucks and eateries (kedai makan) must do the same (observing strict social distancing and hygiene in the premises,” Muhyiddin said in his Labour Day message telecasted live by RTM today.

He listed all necessary SOP and eatery operators must meet the stringent requirements for them to operate.
— DayakDaily