As most sectors to reopen in July, preschool operators ask for more time

More time is needed by the operators for the preparation works to comply with the govt’s guidelines

by NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK/ pic by BERNAMA

MORE recreational activities are allowed beginning tomorrow as the Covid-19 threat has tapered off in the country, with theme parks being the latest business to resume, among others.

Before this, the government announced that spas, reflexology and massage centres, theatres and cinemas will be opened to the public tomorrow.

The Senior Ministry (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the sectors that will be opening tomorrow are mostly from the tourism subsectors such as meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE), travel and trip fairs.

“For MICE and travel and trip fairs, the standard operating procedures (SOPs) include limiting gatherings to 250 people at one time.

“For spas, wellness and reflexology centres, the SOPs set by the National Security Council and Health Ministry include visitor registration, temperature checks, face masks and hand sanitisers at the premises,” he said.

Similarly, only local workers are allowed to operate at the centres, all visitors are required to download the MySejahtera application prior to entering premises, and operators of these centres are required to obtain permission from local authorities before reopening, as their staff must be screened for Covid-19 as well.

In a joint statement by Association of Malaysian Spas (AMSPA) and Malaysian Association of Wellness & Spa (MAWSPA) on June 21, operators have wondered why they were not allowed to reopen as being an industry that has a culture of SOPs adherence and strict hygiene practice.

AMSPA president Datin Jeanette Tambakau and MAWSPA president Datin Dorothea Justin said the two associations joined resources to form the MAWSPA-AMSPA Covid-19 special task force to secure and protect the interests, security and health of its members and clients.

They added that the task force had come up with a comprehensive SOPs manual for the members and tailored it to have the highest safety level and hygiene management, which is crucial in the face of the pandemic.

“The industry is a crucial tourist attraction to boost domestic tourism, which would in turn help hotels to survive and recover.

“This is an industry whose services are required for the wellbeing of the community, especially in a time of great stress such as now when immunity needs to be strengthened by destressing,” they said as representatives of an industry which faced total losses increment of RM300 million between January and June.

In the previous year, the gross annual revenue the subsector gained was over RM600 million and has a total contribution to the nation’s GDP of 4.3% for 2019 with over 10,000 operators.

Meanwhile, the government has been urged by the National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) to postpone the reopening of preschools and kindergartens, which was scheduled for tomorrow, due to the lack of preparation to comply with the government’s guidelines for social distancing.

As the facilities of each preschool are different, social distancing will create problems such as being unable to support the number of pupils for instances where some institutes have two classes.

Similarly, NUTP’s president Aminudin Awang had come up with several methods to help teachers conduct the teaching and learning process in the new norm.

“Universiti Malaya education experts have developed the Social Distancing Pedagogy Model where teachers can suit a topic according to the students, whether they are taught online or face-to-face.

“Beginning from July, we are prepared to organise training workshops for teachers to practise all the new methods,” he said.