SMC chairman advises residents to avoid dining-in as eateries top list of locations visited by positive cases

Dine-ins are now allowed as the ban will be lifted after Sept 19. File Photo

By Karen Bong

SIBU, April 20: Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) chairman Clarence Ting is advising Sibu residents to stop dining in and instead opt for takeaway as daily reports on locations exposed to Covid-19 positive cases indicated that a majority of premises visited involved coffeeshops and eateries.

Of the 25 premises listed as locations exposed to positive cases in Sibu yesterday (April 19), he emphasised that 16 of them involved coffeeshops and eateries.

“Dining in should be stopped in Sibu completely. This (statistics and data) shows that these places pose a high risk of infection and the chances of you coming into contact with someone who is positive is high when not wearing a mask as you have to take it off to eat.

“So I want to urge all Sibu residents to avoid dining in as much as possible and instead (opt for) takeaways.

“And if you have to (dine-in), eat alone and don’t sit near other customers. Don’t stay for too long and don’t gather with friends in coffeeshops,” he urged during a Facebook live session today.

Ting said that he will raise these observations to the Sibu District Disaster Management Committee (Sibu DDMC) in a meeting scheduled at 2.30pm today.

He also reminded the public that face masks are their only protection when out in public places for evidence is clear that it can help suppress and prevent the spread of Covid-19, coupled with adherence to standard operating procedures (SOP) and high standard of hygiene practices.

While many people including parents questioning the rationale behind the opening of schools versus holding gatherings, he pointed out that it was poor adherence to SOP by positive cases that led to the spread in public places.

“It is (Covid-19) brought into the school by someone who is Covid-19 positive who might have not observed SOPs properly and thus spread it in the school.

“So there is no logic for parents to be worried about sending their children to schools when you still go sit in coffeeshops (and be exposed to the risk of getting infected) and express displeasure with the government opening up schools,” he added.

Cautioning that Covid-19 is here to stay for a much longer time than expected, Ting emphasised that people need to think ahead and in the long-term because to contain this pandemic requires the full collaboration of every one in complying with SOP because restrictions implemented can only be short-term measures.

“We can close schools if we think Covid-19 will be around for another three months. But if Covid-19 will be with us for a longer time, will we continue to open and close, open and close schools instead of emphasising SOPs?

“So what will happen to the education of our children in the next few years because the Singapore government has mentioned that Covid-19 may be over only in 2027.

“If we are going to endure this for another year, are we prepared? Because now we may have to think that Covid-19 will be with us longer than expected.” — DayakDaily