Govt eases economic and social lockdown substantially except for a few activities

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin addresses Malaysians in conjunction with Labour Day

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KUALA LUMPUR (May 1): After 44 days of Movement Control Order (MCO), most businesses are allowed to re-open their doors on Monday (May 4).

The announcement came one week before the end of the fourth phase of MCO on May 12.

While there are still restrictions in place, the relaxations also allow certain social activities to resume, said the Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin during his national address today in conjunction with Labour Day.

Economic and social activities that are not allowed to resume are those which involve close contact, big groups more than 10 persons, and at places with high risk of infections.

“Under the advice of the Ministry of Health, based on data collected and best practices determined by the World Health Organisation, the Government has decided to reopen economic sectors — carefully, by enforcing strict health standard operating procedures (SOP).

“From May 4, almost all economic sectors and business activities are allowed to resume operations, subject to terms and SOP determined by the authorities,” Muhyiddin said.

An example given by Muhyiddin is the reopening of restaurants. Eateries and restaurants are allowed to resume operation next Monday but are required to implement safe distancing among dine-in patrons.

This also means that offices can resume operations on Monday. Employers are advised to allow flexible working arrangements, including flexible hours, work from home or alternate days, to prevent all employees going to the office at the same time.

However, some businesses are not allowed as they are deemed difficult to practise social distancing. These include cinemas, karaoke centres, entertainment centres, night clubs, theme parks, Ramadhan bazaars, Aidilfitri bazaars, sales carnivals and all forms of conferences and exhibitions.

Businesses to declare information to MITI, follow SOP to operate

Businesses, which have been operating during MCO, are not required to make new declarations to be eligible to resume operations on Monday.

The declaration requirement applies to all the businesses that have been shut down during MCO and are now allowed to resume operations on Monday. Companies may declare their information online at notification.miti.gov.my and simply pledge to adhere to the SOP.

In his speech, Muhyiddin cited an example of a restaurant owner, Pak Salleh.

“On May 4, Monday, Pak Salleh can reopen his restaurant. In these two days, Pak Salleh can go back to the restaurant [and prepare for the reopening].

“Have some space between tables to allow adequate distancing for customers...Pak Salleh could have only one, two or three patrons at each table, depending on the size of the table. This, Pak Salleh must decide.”

The restaurant owners must also prepare hand sanitisers, check the body temperature of customers, and to clean the tables after each customer has left.

“Record the name and phone number of each customer, as well as record their arrival date and time. This is important because if one customer is found to be COVID-19 positive, other customers who dined at the shop on the same day can be quickly traced,” he said.

Govt lost RM63bil to date due to MCO

Muhyiddin said the country is ready to restart economic activities nation-wide in a safe and controlled manner.

Malaysia is in a delicate position of balancing between the concerns of another wave of infection when the MCO is relaxed, and the economic costs to the public, businesses and the Government if shops, offices and factories remain closed.

According to him, the Government is estimated to have lost RM2.4 billion for each day the MCO was enforced. “To date, the losses incurred is estimated to be RM63 billion.

“If the MCO continues for another month, the government loses RM35 billion, making the total loss to be RM98 billion.”

“Looking at global trends, the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to continue for a long time. It will not end in the near term,” said Muhyiddin.

“We have to accept the fact that in the coming months it will be impossible to secure zero cases [of new infections]. What needs to be done is to improve the capabilities of public healthcare services to face any possibilities,” he said.

Malaysia, he said, has fulfilled six WHO criteria in combating the virus, namely tightened border control, movement control locally, improved healthcare facility capabilities, ability to take care of at-risk groups, practising new normal for instance wearing masks and social distancing, and community strengthening to protect green zones.

“Even as we successfully contain the outbreak, we must not get carried away,” Muhyiddin said,  reiterating the need to practise the new normal such as safe distancing and wearing face masks.

“Stay disciplined so we can increase green zone areas as quickly as possible,” he added.

 

See also: List of businesses not allowed to reopen on Monday, barbers to remain closed

https://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/businesses-not-allowed-reopen-mon...