Restaurateurs, retailers plead for dine-in

Retail business to decline by 40% to 50% in the next 2 weeks, while F&B could see an 80% sales drop due to MCO 3.0


EATERY operators and retailers appeal to the government to allow dine-in during the Movement Control Order (MCO) 3.0, albeit limited, to mitigate losses while still on the cusp of recovery.

Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association (Presma) president Datuk Jawahar Ali Taib Khan said any eateries would hardly survive without dine-in customers. He said restaurateurs could suffer 70% sales loss due to the movement restrictions.

“We can’t even think about profit at the moment. Most importantly, now we have to ensure that we can cover utility bills, rental fees and pay staff’s wages.

“Since the pandemic hit, over 300 restaurants have already closed down completely from a total of 12,000 of our members. They are still struggling to survive and bleeding money daily,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR).

Six Selangor districts — Hulu Langat, Petaling, Gombak, Klang, Kuala Langat and Sepang — are currently under the MCO until May 17. Similarly, Kuala Lumpur will be placed under the MCO starting today until May 20.

Consequently, the operating hours for all eateries — including restaurants, food trucks, hawker stalls and kiosks — are fixed between 6am and midnight without any dine-in allowed.

Jawahar hopes the government will consider allowing restaurants to open for dine-in, at least two persons per table.

“Our members and customers are adhering to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) very strictly, which has become the norm to us.

“We can’t depend on take-away and deliveries, considering the surcharge imposed for the delivery services.”

He hopes the government can consider providing subsidised rental assistance and other initiatives to ease the financial burden, given no moratorium extension.

“Perhaps the government can also engage with industry players before they announce something like the MCO, so that they could understand the situation better,” he added.

Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners Association (Primas) echoed the same view as Presma, pleading for the government to reverse the ban on dine-in to keep restaurants in business.

Primas president J Suresh said the ban would affect the economy badly and add more stress on restaurant operators, who have been struggling for the past 14 months.

“A minimum seating capacity of two customers per table would at least help support their daily management expenses,” Suresh said in a statement.

He urged the government to expedite the vaccination programme for people in the service industry, as well as the general public and those living in Covid-19 affected areas, to reduce the number of cases.

Bumiputera Retailers Organisation president Datuk Wira Ameer Ali Mydin said the food and beverage (F&B) segment plays a significant role in attracting visitors to malls.

He said retail business is expected to decline by 40% to 50% in the next two weeks, while F&B could see an 80% sales drop due to interstate and now inter-district travel bans.

“We expect footfall to drop by 50% during this MCO. I think there is an urgent need to let private hospitals offer Covid-19 vaccines now,” he told TMR.

Ameer Ali said the implementation of MCO is justified. Still, he recommends that the government to allow dine-in, should the MCO be extended.

“I hope the government can come out with SOPs at the same time when they announce something, as this will affect staff planning, logistics and supply chain.”

SME Association of Malaysia president Datuk Michael Kang said the SOPs this time around are clear for businesses.

However, he said SMEs are facing a 30% drop in business during this MCO.

“We hope the MCO will not be extended,” he told TMR.