PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysian coffee shops will be allowed to remain partially open to allow customers to order takeaways, but won't allow people to dine in, says the Malaysia Singapore Coffeeshop Proprietors' General Association.
Meanwhile, Malaysia's National Security Council said on its question-and answer list on the government's order to restrict movements: "Restaurants can be opened but only for takeaway food or through food delivery services from certain companies such as Grab Food and Food Panda."
Their statements clarified a major question in the minds of many Malaysians on eating out during the restrictions as ordered by the government from Wednesday (March 18 until the end of the month.
Said the coffeeshop association's president, Datuk Ho Su Mong, he had called up the National Operations Management Centre set up by the authorities on the matter.
"We have called them up and asked them to clarify this matter for the coffee shops. We are allowed to operate coffee shops partially, and we can allow customers to tapau (Chinese for "takeaway"), but we cannot allow them to dine in or sit together and catch up with old friends, he said.
"So coffee shops are allowed to open partially for business... in order to mitigate the spread of Covid-19, " he said on Tuesday (March 17).
He said while some of his members in bigger cities engaged in food delivery services to send food to customers, coffee shops in smaller towns would be encouraging customers to take away food.
According to Mr Ho, some of the members were opting to close shop for two weeks.
"Some members have expressed concern at having to turn away customers who may get angry and not return to their coffee shop again. They said it's better to just close shop for the whole two weeks, " he said.
Grab in Malaysia has said that its delivery services GrabFood and GrabMart will remain available.
The government on Monday announced it was ordering the shutdown of non-essential businesses and stores, but will allow premises to remain open if these are involved in services such as health, pharmacies, food supply, banking and utilities.