PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Food outlets, roadside hawkers, convenience and grocery stores in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Selangor are allowed to operate only between 6am and 10pm as new movement restrictions imposed in the three areas kick in on Wednesday (Oct 14) to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
While food outlets are encouraged to provide take-away, delivery and drive-thru services, dine-in will be allowed but limited to two persons per table.
The guidelines for the so-called conditional movement control order (MCO) were released on Wednesday by Malaysian Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who gave his assurance that activities in the economic, business and industrial sectors are able operate as usual despite the restrictions.
The government on Monday announced a conditional movement control order (CMCO) for Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and the Selangor state after the number of infections in recent weeks rose at an alarming rate.
The movement restrictions, which are expected to affect about a third of Malaysia's population, will begin after midnight on Tuesday (Oct 14) and will last until Oct 27.
Transport services including express buses, LRT and stage buses are allowed to operate, taxis and e-hailing services are allowed a maximum of two passengers, and delivery services can start from 6am to midnight.
Petrol station services are available from 6am to 10pm and those operating along highways can provide 24-hour services.
Operating hours for wet markets are from 6am to 2pm, pasar tani (farmers' markets) from 6am to noon and pasar malam (night markets) from 4pm to 10pm.
Private and public clinics and hospitals can provide 24-hour service while operating hours for pharmacies and drugstores are between 8am and 11pm.
Ismail Sabri said the economic and industrial sectors in the affected areas could proceed with strict SOP compliance while vehicles providing services to these sectors could ply their routes as usual, including inter-state and inter-district travel.
Fisheries, plantations and agriculture sectors and related activities, are also allowed to operate as usual, as with airports and ports.
While inter-state and inter-district movements involving areas under the conditional MCO are not allowed, those facing emergencies such as health and death can do so with police permission.
Workers are allowed to make inter-district or inter-state journeys to and from work, provided they have their employers permission letters and staff identification cards as proof should they be stopped at roadblocks.
Ismail Sabri said travellers from other states who need to cross Selangor and Kuala Lumpur to reach destinations not affected by the order were required to seek police approval before the journey.
Likewise, Ismail Sabri said those who need to make a journey via a flight at KLIA, KLIA2 and Subang airport were also required to seek permission from the police for land travel to the airport.
"Only two persons per household are allowed to leave the house to get food supply and other essential needs. Individuals who are in the high-risk category as well as children are encouraged not to be in public, open and crowded places during this period," he said.
Ismail Sabri added that all recreational, leisure and cultural activities, pubs and nightclubs, theme parks, recreational centres, indoor playgrounds and movie theatres would not be allowed to operate.
For sporting activities, individual sports, e-sports, sports which do not involve physical contact, combat sports and outdoor sports with not more than 10 participants would be allowed but pool activities, events and championships cannot be held during the period.
"Social events such as weddings, engagement parties, birthdays, reunions, as well as meetings, conferences, workshops, training and seminars will not be allowed," he said.
Ismail Sabri said all educational institutions, schools, kindergarten, nurseries and daycare centres would also be closed.
Meanwhile, many eatery operators in Selangor have complained that they weren't given clear enough guidelines on the conditional MCO before it took effect today.
Petaling Jaya Coffee Shop Association president Kue Kok Meng said association members would follow the standard operating procedures (SOP) strictly such as checking temperature and recording personal details through apps but they need clear guidelines from the authorities.
"Please give us better clarification on the rules and regulations to help us sustain our business, " said Kue, who spoke on behalf of 600 restaurants and cafes under the association.
Subang Jaya Coffee Shops and Restaurants Association chairman Johnny Liu said this was going to be a tough period for the over 3,000 coffeeshop and restaurant owners in Subang Jaya and Seri Kembangan.
"We had just started to recover since the implementation of the MCO in March.
"Our members are also requesting for help to cover their rental and utility bills, " he said, adding that they saw about 20 per cent loss in sale of drinks when dine-in was not allowed in the past.
However, Liu was confident that over 90 per cent of the members were fully prepared to abide by the rules.
How says MPK's ruling to disallow stalls from trading along the five-foot-way is good for cleanliness and hygiene.
A cafe owner in Eco Ardence, Setia Alam said his cafe saw over 20 per cent drop in business when the conditional MCO was implemented in certain parts of Klang last week.
Chua Beng Chun, 33, who owns a cafe in Klang, said he and his staff rushed to prepare new takeaway and delivery menus last Friday.
"I think it is extra tough on cafe owners because most customers who dine in do so for the ambience and environment, so when we are not allowed to have dine-in customers, it will hit us really badly, " he said.
Meanwhile, food stall operators along the five-foot-way in Klang have been warned to comply with Klang Municipal Council's (MPK) ruling to have their makeshift stalls moved into shoplots.
MPK Wet Market and Hawkers Department director Azhar Samsudin said all food stall operators must comply with the SOP of the conditional MCO.
"Once this is done, their business will continue and the hawkers can offer takeaway.
"We want total compliance and cooperation to stem the spread of Covid-19," he said.
Azhar said the majority were complying but those who continued to trade on the five-foot-way risked having their stalls removed.
In Taman Chi Liung, Restaurant Tien Chuan manager Lim Eng Cheong, 42, said his outlet would move all its stalls from the five-foot-way into the shop.
Wantan noodle stall holder How Toong Tew, 50, said it was a good move to have stalls in the shoplot as it was more hygienic.
MPK Enforcement Department deputy director Shahrul Hazri Abd Majid and his officers made spot checks in commercial areas over the weekend and found that 90 per cent of businesses followed the SOP.
"We visited Taman Sri Andalas, Taman Rakyat and surrounding areas of Jalan Pos Baharu near the old Klang Bus Terminal, " he said.
Ismail Sabri said though the conditional MCO was strict, it is less severe than the one imposed in Sabah.
"For Sabah, it is stricter because almost half of the state is in the red zone while for Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, this is a proactive move by the government to prevent further infections.
"We are seeing an upward trend in cases and we are concerned whether it would infect other districts or areas and that's why we have the conditional MCO in place," he said.