Wary KL eateries stick to takeaways despite relaxed MCO

Customers give their orders at Restoran Mahbub in Bangsar.

KUALA LUMPUR: Many restaurants in the city here are not allowing dine-ins despite the conditional movement control order (CMCO) relaxing some restrictions effective today.

Under the CMCO announced last week, customers are allowed to eat in at restaurants although social distancing must still be observed. Restaurants must also register the names of customers to enable contact tracing if one of them tests positive for Covid-19.

In Lucky Garden, Bangsar, a worker at an apom stall said business for them would only resume after the MCO ends on May 12.

He said social distancing rules made eating in impractical.

A worker at a nearby coffee shop selling mixed rice also said they had decided against allowing customers to dine in.

Little social distancing is observed at this coffee shop in Bangsar.

But even for takeaways, which have been allowed since the MCO took effect on March 18, customers were seen standing side-by-side with very few observing social distancing rules.

“We do tell the customers to keep a distance, but some continue doing so anyway,” the worker told FMT.

Mohd Sidek Seeni, the director of Restoran Mahbub, also said dining in would not be practical as customers would be limited to two people per table.

“Maybe a few days after Hari Raya we will open for dining in,” he added.

For now, though, customers give their orders at the counter before sitting to wait on stools placed a metre apart. Once their food is ready, they are called to collect their orders.

At Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa, located at a cramped street in Kampung Baru, owner Shafiq Abdul Halim said there was no space to arrange tables according to social distancing rules.

Nasi Lemak Antarabangsa owner Shafiq Abdul Halim is only allowing takeaways for now.

“We can usually accommodate around 70 customers – that’s around 40 tables.

“Since we don’t have enough space, we are only opening for takeaways.”

But business during the MCO has not been too bad for Shafiq, whose popular stall saw a steady stream of food delivery riders throughout his conversation with FMT.

“Hopefully once everything is okay, I can reopen for dine-ins,” he added.

At Sunway Velocity Mall in Cheras, Korean restaurant Dubuyo appeared to be one of the few outlets accepting dine-in customers.

Seats at Dubuyo in Sunway Velocity are marked with tape to indicate where people cannot sit in order to ensure social distancing.

In line with the government requirements, customers were told to provide the restaurant with their details.

Chairs and tables were also marked with tape to indicate the spaces to be left vacant.

Peter Wee, who owns Classmens tailor in Bangsar, said he was opening his shop for the first time in weeks.

However, the nature of his business means that nearly all of his customers make appointments first, so he does not expect any significant changes.

“I wasn’t affected so badly, so I treated it as more of a break. But for now I don’t foresee any new business,” he said.

Yakin Book Store owner Jagubar Ali said the MCO had cost him a lot, but added that he was fortunate his suppliers had been understanding instead of chasing him for payments.

Jagubar Ali, the owner of Yakin Book Store takes a customer’s temperature.

“Business is good today,” he added. “Many people need to restock their stationery.”

Nevertheless, he too is taking extra precautions, standing guard at the entrance of his shop to limit the number of customers at any one time. He also takes their temperatures before they enter.

“All of us (employees) wear masks, and we encourage our customers to do so too,” he added.

Under the CMCO, fashion and clothes stores are also allowed to reopen.

At Sunway Velocity, shops are required to register their customers’ details. They are also limiting customers to between 10 and 15 at a time.

A shopper registers before entering JD Sports in Sunway Velocity

Mall staff meanwhile scan customers’ temperatures. Those with temperatures of above 38 degrees Celsius are not allowed to enter.

“We also have a centralised pick-up point for all food and items purchased online so the delivery riders do not have to go into the mall,” said Sunway Velocity Mall associate marketing director Darren Chear.

He said lifts are fogged every four hours with stickers indicating boundaries in elevators and at facilities such as ATMs which are also equipped with hand sanitiser.

Other facilities such as the playground and hair salons remain closed.

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