Coronavirus: Malaysian hotel body says hotels allowed to serve existing guests during lockdown

Malaysia's Movement Control Order will last until March 31 and is intended to curb the spread of the coronavirus. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

KUALA LUMPUR - The Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) said hotels could continue to serve existing guests and long-staying guests, but not take in new customers, during the country's two-week shutdown.

MAH said in a statement on its Facebook on Tuesday (March 17) that after discussions with the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, hotels are allowed to continue with limited operations.

The ministry is seeking clearer guidance from the Malaysian National Security Council, a federal agency under the Prime Minister's Department, which is in charge of the Movement Control Order (MCO) that started on Wednesday (March 18).

Meanwhile, "hotels are allowed to operate on limited services, that includes allowing in-house guests whom had checked-in (before 18 March 2020) to stay until its intended check-out date", the statement said.

"In-house guests, however, are advised to remain in the room throughout the movement control period.

"Other services in the hotel, on the other hand, are not allowed to operate except for food and beverages but only for room service.

"No new check-ins are allowed from 18 till 31 March for all, including local Malaysians." MAH added.

MAH president Kamaruddin Baharin was quoted by Malay Mail online news as saying: "We are aware that the many are confused with the situation and the directives from the government, given such short notice to prepare, but our advice is to look at the bigger picture and focus on containing the spread before the situation gets worse."

The MCO will last until March 31 and is intended to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Data from the government's National Property Information Centre showed that at end-2017, there were 3,126 hotels in the country with 246,564 rooms.

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