F&B operators looking forward to dine-ins, but want SOPs released ASAP

A coffee shop offering takeaway services only.

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SIBU, July 12: Eateries are in a quandary over how many customers can dine-ins at one time when the State enters Phase Two of the National Recovery Plan (NRP) tomorrow.

They want the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) to quickly reveal the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for food and beverage (F&B) outlets.

“We can now accept dine-ins starting tomorrow. But how many customers can sit at a table at one time? Is the SOP the same as last time? We don’t know about this as SDMC has not made the SOP public,” said Tong Ing Kong, the chairman of Sibu Coffeeshop and Restaurant Owners Association.

He added that with the clock ticking fast now, SDMC must not wait any longer to announce the SOP.

“If there is no SOP guidelines for dine-in, everybody will be scared to accept customers as we are afraid of being slapped with a compound. A compound fee of RM50 is already beyond our means as it is not easy to do business during this hard time,” he said.

Restaurant operators likewise would also hesitate to resume dine-in service with no SOP guidelines as yet.

“How many tables can a restaurant set up for dine-in? If they put up five tables which might later turn out to be against the SOP, they will be compounded heavily,” he said.

Generally, Tong said, they very much welcomed the move to allow eateries to open for dine-ins under Phase Two of the NRP.

“We accept this decision. However we anticipate that business will be slow when we open up for dine-ins as people are either used to eating at home or fear that the coronavirus is still in our midst,” he added.

Tong reckoned that daytime eatery outlets will see more business but not the night-time ones as “people prefer to stay at home during night time now.” — DayakDaily