CMCO rules need more clarity

It will be a lot easier if the govt can provide clearer information specifically for the F&B sector on the MoH’s website


THE transition from the Movement Control Order 2.0 (MCO 2.0) to Conditional MCO (CMCO) is not as smooth in certain sectors, as many are still struggling to understand the new set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) that have been put in place.

Kedai Kopi Payung owner Nor Baizura Jamil said while the CMCO is a relief as her business could remain open, confusion on the dos and don’ts under the new rulings still need to be resolved.

She said food and beverage (F&B) business owners would still be calling the authorities for clarification before they could proceed with their operations.

“To me, the SOPs are still quite confusing. Sure, it’s my mistake for not following the updates by the government every time as it’s quite time-consuming to listen to the announcement and wait for your part while you have customers to be served.

“But it will be a lot easier if they can provide clearer information, specifically for the F&B sector, on the Ministry of Health’s (MoH) website. Maybe, they can provide one dedicated social media account specifically for businesses on the SOPs,” she told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) in a phone interview.

Nevertheless, Nor Baizura said she is thankful that she can operate during the CMCO period, especially to have more than two people to sit at a table to dine-in.

She is aware of the risks of Covid-19 and always ready to adhere to the SOPs provided as much as possible.

“The current CMCO SOPs are preferable. We can operate the shop almost at the same time as before MCO. To be honest, the no dine-in rules affected our income a lot, as we had to buy extra things and equipment for takeaway orders online,” she noted.

Nor Baizura added the public has also gained the confidence to dine-in at restaurants despite the high Covid-19 cases recorded daily.

Ali Bistro owner Ashraf Ariff said the extra two hours of operation have allowed his restaurants to reach normal sales figures.

“It seems that the public have gained confidence, as we are seeing customers back in the shop. Many of them that I have not seen in a while have started to come back to our restaurants,” he told TMR.

Ashraf said he has no confusion on the new SOPs, which include opening hours extended until midnight, and many customers are still inquiring about his restaurants’ business hours.

Jaimey Quan, who owns a production house, told TMR that it is good to be back at work, but he hopes that the government would not keep changing the SOPs hereafter.

He said it would be easier if the authorities put in place and publish the necessary measures to the public prior to announcing the CMCO, as it would allow businesses to have enough time to prepare.

He said the next thing many are looking forward to would certainly be the possibility of lifting the interstate travel restrictions when the daily Covid-19 cases drop, so that people in the business could push their projects further.

“For production works, our filming and shooting activities are usually scheduled outside of Kuala Lumpur (KL) and Selangor, so we have to constantly travel interstate to meet clients and to get our work done.

“I cannot go to the police station for permission letters to interstate travel every single time. So, I am praying for the cases to drop for travel restrictions to be lifted,” he added.

Quan said the implementation of MCO had forced his production crew to go back to square one and left them with no income for almost 10 months.

Last week, the government announced that the MCO in Selangor, KL, Johor and Penang will be replaced by CMCO until March 18, as new casestaper down and the country kicks off its mass immunisation campaign against Covid-19.

Almost all business and retail sectors, besides tourism and cultural sectors such as zoos, aquariums, edutainment centres, recreational and theme parks, museums, art galleries, cinemas, spas and wellness centres, manicure and pedicure centres were allowed to operate daily between 6am until midnight.

However, they are still required to strictly adhere to the SOPs and operate only within 50% of their normal capacity.

The 10km travel limit had also been lifted and passengers are now allowed as per the capacity of the vehicle, while interstate travel remains closed nationwide.

Read our previous report here

Inter-district travel allowed from March 5