New dine-in rules not a problem, say restaurant bosses

From Monday, restrictions under the movement control order will be relaxed for restaurants to accept dine-in customers. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Two restaurant operators say they are unfazed by new rules requiring them to record their customers’ names and telephone numbers when restrictions under the movement control order are relaxed from Monday.

Navindran Karunakaran, founder and chief executive of Ocean Flair Group which runs several outlets in Kuala Lumpur, said those who want to dine in will be told that the details were required by government regulation

“We need to set the terms and customers must abide by it. There are no two ways about it, they have to comply” he told FMT.

Another restaurant owner, Abdul Malik Abdullah, also does not see an issue with the latest requirement.

However, cafe owner Desonny Tuzan said he would not reopen his cafe, out of concern for the health of his workers and customers, although Putrajaya has given the go-ahead for dine-in customers.

On Friday, when announcing that almost all economic sectors would be able to resume business from May 4, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said that customers will once again be allowed to eat in at restaurants.

However, the outlets must register the names of all customers, to enable contact tracing if someone tests positive for Covid-19.

Navindran said some of the group’s online partners already have a loyalty or reservation app, which has their details: these would only be used for special promotions. Details of other customers would be stored separately.

Malik, founder of D’Tandoor Food Industries Sdn Bhd, feels that most customers would comply with the requirement as people will know it’s for their “own good”.

Restaurants will not be taking down customers’ addresses or MyKad numbers. “So customers may oblige. It also gives them a sense of security as the authorities can screen them should one patron happen to test positive for Covid-19.”

He feels that taking down the names and phone numbers will soon become part of the “new normal”.

However, Malik says there was some confusion about social distancing for customers who eat in restaurants.

Cafe owner Desonny said he remained “very cautious” about reopening Charlie’s Cafe, especially after reading news reports about air-conditioning at a restaurant in China spreading the coronavirus.

As there were people who had been infected with Covid-19 without showing symptoms, he was not willing to take the risk. “I want to protect my team, so I will monitor for 2 to 4 weeks before welcoming dine-in customers,” he said. “I need to be conservative in this matter.”

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