By Chee Jo-Ey
THE Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) that came into effect on May 4 has been welcomed by many businesses eager to reopen after more than a month of lockdown.
Although infection risks persist, many believe that the gradual reopening of the economy is necessary to balance health and economic needs.
It was reported that the re-opening of economies around the world combined with the positive developments regarding the Covid-19 pandemic are set to push the ringgit higher.
Almost all sectors were given the green light to operate starting May 4 with the condition that they adhere to the standard operating procedures (SOP) put in place by authorities.
The health and safety measures include social distancing, frequent handwashing, wearing face masks, and reporting immediately to the Health Department if there is information about Covid-19 infections. Individuals showing Covid-19 symptoms are required to immediately undergo health screening.
Dine-in is now allowed in restaurants but there needs to be at least two metres between tables to maintain social distancing.
Staff will conduct thermal screening for customers and take down their name and contact number, along with the date and time they entered the restaurant.
According to Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association (Presma) president Datuk Jawahar Ali Taib Khan, some of its members are adopting a wait-and-see approach and still prefer offering only takeaway services as compared to dine in.
“We are continuously observing the infection trends and making sure that it’s safe for our employees and the public likewise. We don’t want to reinitiate the lockdown like what happened in Hokkaido, Japan.
“I do not foresee businesses having difficulties in following the SOP but we’re taking time to adapt and being cautious,” says Jawahar.
He advises members of the association to start practising the SOP so that they can adapt smoothly to the new norm in the coming weeks.
“Since day one, we have been practising measures like sanitising, wearing masks, and social distancing. Now we also have to keep a record of people coming in and make adjustments to table arrangements so that there is a two-metre gap,” says Jawahar.
Meanwhile, Federation of Livestock Farmers’ Associations of Malaysia (FLFAM) president Terry Tan says that there will be no much impact transiting from MCO to CMCO for the farm sector as it has been operating at 100% capacity from day one.
“Now, farmers are just having some doubts about getting foreign workers tested. We are still checking with the authorities. We have to get the workers tested but are unclear as to whether we will need to send them to appointed clinics or they will get tested on-site,” says Tan.
The government has announced mandatory Covid-19 testing for all foreign workers. Foreign workers who contribute to the Social Security Organisation (Socso) will have their screening costs borne by the organisation.
SME Association president Datuk Michael Kang says that a lot of small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) will need some time to learn how to implement the SOP.
They will have to refer to the Ministry of Health of Malaysia’s website to draft an internal SOP and there are a lot of procedures for various situations.
He says however that businesses should start operating from now even though business is not a lot now as this will be the new norm. – May 6, 2020