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By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, July 15: Dine-ins will be allowed from tomorrow onwards (July 16) in Sarawak.
This was announced by State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) today. However, to prevent further spread of Covid-19, eatery operators may only start to serve diners while following very stringent standard operating procedures (SOP) set by the Local Government and Housing Ministry.
One of the prerequisites for food and beverage operators to resume business is that they and their workers must receive at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccines, apart from other SOPs set by SDMC which they need to fulfil.
Sarawak has been placed under lockdown since May 29, 2021 due to the surge in Covid-19 cases.
Following the month-long lockdown and the slowing down of Covid-19 transmissions within Sarawak, SDMC on July 12 announced that Sarawak was ready to open for dine-ins as the whole nation moved into Phase 2 of the National Recovery Plan (NRP).
The initial announcement was well-received by many Sarawakians, as permitting dine-ins not only means that they may continue their daily routine of having meals at eateries but more importantly, it signified that the business sector may resume its economic activities, signalling the beginning of the revival of Sarawak’s economy in general.
To the astonishment of most, within 24 hours of when the announcement was made, on July 13, SDMC put its decision to allow dine-ins on hold until the Local Government and Housing Ministry (MLGH) issued new SOPs for the prevention of Covid-19.
SDMC was being cautious to delay the opening of dine-ins as on July 13, it received a research report from University Malaysia Sarawak stating that 16 Covid-19 cases caused by the Delta strain — a highly transmissible variant — were detected.
With the completion of the new SOPs set by MLGH, SDMC today announced for a second time within three days that dine-ins were now permitted but with strict SOPs in place on the part of the food and beverage operators. — DayakDaily