Malaysia allows more businesses to reopen including dine-ins at restaurants

The government will also allow dine-ins at restaurants. PHOTO: REUTERS

PUTRAJAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Malaysia government on Tuesday (Feb 9) will allow more businesses in the retail sector to reopen from Wednesday, to help their economic continuity and survival.

Senior Minister for Security Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government will also allow dine-ins at restaurants, with two people seated at a table and physical distancing of at least 1m between each diner.

The moves followed a controversial decision last week when the government allowed night markets and hair salons along with barbers to reopen, although Covid-19 case numbers remain high.

Mosques have also been allowed to reopen in most states at half or quarter capacity, while adhering to health protocols.

Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri said that the National Security Council's special committee has agreed to allow more businesses to reopen, including clothing stores, toy stores and sports equipment shops.

Outlets selling cosmetics, kitchen appliances, shoes, photography studios, nurseries and florists will also be allowed to open.

He reminded them to continue adhering to strict health protocols called standard operating procedures (SOP) in Malaysia.

"The special committee has decided to allow these businesses to operate with strict SOP in place.

"They are allowed to open for business beginning Feb 10," he said at his daily news briefing on Covid-19.

These businesses must disinfect their premises three times a day, while clothes stores are to provide customers with disposable gloves to use, he said.

The use of face masks among staff and customers is a must and details such as the names and contact numbers of visitors as well as their temperatures must be recorded.

The use of product testers or samples are not allowed at cosmetics shops.

Malaysia on Tuesday logged 2,764 new coronavirus infections to bring the cumulative total to 248,316 cases.

This was the lowest daily figure in about five weeks, with daily cases mostly staying above 3,000 since the middle of last month.

There were also 13 new deaths on Tuesday, raising total fatalities to 909.

Most of the country except for Sarawak state is in the fifth of a six-week Movement Control Order (MCO), with the government advising people to stay home and to work from home as far as possible.

But government officials have also said that shutting most activities could cause deeper damage to the economy and more job losses.

The lockdown has cost the economy an estimated RM700 million (S$230 million) daily, Bloomberg reported.

Malaysia is expected to start its vaccination programme at the end of this month.

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