HAWKERS and restaurant owners in Penang island are thankful that they are allowed to operate in the ongoing conditional movement control order (CMCO).
Checks by Buletin Mutiara at food courts, hawker centres and restaurants showed that many of their premises were carrying out their business as usual but the number of diners has dwindled since Monday.
Due to the CMCO covering all states in Peninsular Malaysia, except Perlis, Pahang and Kelantan, inter-state and inter-district travels were not allowed except for emergency cases.
According to May Tan Mui Hoon, 47, her Maxim Dim Sum restaurant in Sungai Dua enjoyed brisk business a day before CMCO started.
“Many of our customers came to have their meals on Sunday after learning that CMCO would start the following day.
“However, our business has dropped about 50% on the first day of CMCO. We have no choice but to stay calm.
“At least, we are given the green light to carry out our business as usual but with stricter standard operating procedures (SOPs) imposed.
“You can’t really blame anybody nowadays, especially during these tough times. Everyone is affected by the pandemic.
“We should count ourselves lucky for being able to sustain our business as some had pulled down their shutters since early this year.
“Times are really bad and we are unsure what will happen next year although a positive outlook has been predicted.
“We better brace ourselves for any eventuality,” she said when interviewed at her restaurant, together with her husband Pang Khek Seng, 54, in Sungai Dua today.
Tan noted that her business had started to pick up during the recovery movement control order (RMCO) phase.
“Our outlet in Gurney Plaza now is the hardest hit of all in our chain. The rental is expensive and our overhead cost is high as well,” she said.
Yeoh Kok Heng, 60, who sells vegetarian economy rice in Bukit Jambul said his business has dropped about 30% even prior to CMCO.
“I am having fewer customers now. They are mainly residents and office workers.
“Some may be afraid to come out while others are working from home.
“I have been operating this business for the last 16 years and I would say this pandemic has seriously impacted all of us,” he said when met at his stall.
On the SOP compliance, Yeoh said his customers adhere to the rules and regulations without complaint.
Meanwhile, Kayu Nasi Kandar restaurant owner Burhan Mohamed in Bukit Jambul said his business has dropped by 60% since CMCO started.
He said the rise of Covid-19 cases has not only affected his business but also other businesses.
“What I can say is that the number of people complying with SOPs is encouraging,” he added.
Story by Edmund Lee
Pix by Darwina Mohd Daud