GEORGE TOWN — The Penang state government through its two local authorities (PBTs) will cease the operations of public markets if they fail to comply with the authority’s instructions during the Movement Control Order period to prevent the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
The four public markets in focus on the island are in Air Itam, Jalan Perak, Bayan Baru and Jelutong while the public markets in Seberang Perai are in Kepala Batas, Bagan Ajam, Kampung Baru, Sungai Dua, Taman Selamat, Taman Berjaya, Taman Chai Leng, Penanti and Tasek Mutiara.
State Housing, Local Government, Town and Country Planning Committee chairman, Jagdeep Singh Deo, said the two local councils, the Penang City Council (MBPP) and Seberang Perai City Council (MBSP) would limit the number of visitors at one time in public markets by providing only one entry and exit point managed by a trade association.
“Traders would also be asked to take turns in conducting their businesses during the Movement Control Order period and limiting two customers to a stall or counter while providing hand sanitiser at their stalls,” he told a press conference here today.
In addition, poultry slaughtering activities are not permitted during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period and only dressed poultry is allowed to be sold, he said, adding that 4,800 PBT staff were dispatched to monitor high-risk locations such as public markets.
MBPP Mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang at the same press conference said the roadside stalls at Pulau Tikus Market would be closed from tomorrow throughout the Movement Control Order period.
In the meantime, MBSP Mayor Datuk Rozali Mohamud said the MBSP also carried out disinfection works in public market areas on heavily used spots such as hand rails, doors, toilet bowls, urinals, sinks, water taps hourly everyday, he said.
Meanwhile, a check by Bernama at Air Itam Public Market found that visitors were more organised today and they practised social distancing of at least one metre, and left after buying daily necessities.
In addition, only one lane was opened for entry and another for exit with MBPP enforcers controlling both points to ensure that only a few visitors were allowed to enter the market at a time and hand sanitiser was also provided.
Yesterday the MBPP ordered street hawkers around the Air Itam public market area to close to ensure the public did not crowd the area.
The Apollo public market near Raja Uda in Butterworth found that the number of visitors to the market had dwindled today, with not so many postings on social media.