CERTAIN businesses are back though not in full swing as allowed by the Seberang Perai City Council (MBSP) starting today.
Those services are agricultural input stores (fertilisers / poison), hardware stores, stores selling pet food, animal food and animal medicine, and spare part stores.
However, the business operating hours are allowed on Monday and Thursday only, from 8am to 2pm, starting today (April 6) during this movement control order (MCO) period.
The MCO enforcement, which started on March 18, has been extended from March 31 to April 14 to fight the spread of Covid-19.
A check by Buletin Mutiara in Seberang Perai saw that the majority of the stores under those services are operating as usual based on the business hours set up by MBSP.
Most of them also have taken some preventive measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 by controlling the number of customers who can enter their shop to prevent overcrowding, practising social distancing and carrying out some disinfection works at their premises.
Buletin Mutiara managed to interview some of the store owners and below are their views:
Maisara Husin (35, pet shop owner)
“First and foremost, I would like to thank the city council for allowing us to resume our business operation.
“It is not easy for us because we have been closed since March 18 when the MCO was enforced.
“I hope we can operate more than twice a week. Perhaps, the MBSP can allow us to open business three or four times a week.
“Or at the very least, MBSP could extend the operating hours from 8am to 2pm to 8am to 5pm instead.
“This is mainly because our business is greatly affected during the MCO period. We also have to reduce our staff to maintain the operation.
“We also need some time to refill our stocks like pet food, animal food and animal medicine and also to inform our customers that we have started opening our business.
“Nevertheless, I think this is such a good decision taken by the MBSP rather than keeping us closed every day.”
Faizal Mokhtar (36, vehicle parts shop owner)
“When I first read the notice that my business is allowed to operate, it brings a huge relief to me. I am thankful to MBSP for such a decision.
“This is because my business is greatly affected during these trying times.
“As for today, I only do some minor repairs instead of major repairs due to the limited spare part items I have.
“I just do car repairs based on the spare parts I have stocked at the workshop.
“However, I will try to restock the items in the upcoming days for my customers’ convenience.
“I hope that the city council could implement a business ‘rotation’ system.
“To be honest, the current operating hours for two days a week from 8am to 2pm are too short. We do not have enough time to make some profit to cover back our losses during this period.
“With the business ‘rotation’ system, we can minimise the risk of infection by bringing down the number of people entering the business premises in certain areas while maximise our operation.”
Yee Keng Chee (83, agricultural input store (fertilisers / poison) owner)
“I applaud the MBSP for this decision.
“As we can see today, I do receive a lot of customers since I opened my shop at 8am in the morning.
“This shows that fertilisers and poison are much needed agricultural input for farmers to harvest their crop, especially during this period.
“I do not mind operating only twice a week as long as my business can still run during this time.”
Story by Riadz Akmal
Pix by Noor Siti Nabilah Noorazis
Video by Darwina Mohd Daud