Unfair to close all pubs due to a few offenders, says operator

An operator says enforcement officials should go after the offenders instead of closing down all pubs or joints offering alcoholic drinks.

PETALING JAYA: The Federal Territories ministry has been urged to reconsider its directive that pubs and food outlets serving liquor be closed during the conditional movement control order (CMCO) period.

Food and beverage chain operator Ivy Hew said enforcement authorities should only punish those who flouted the CMCO and spare law-abiding outlets.

“It is unfair to make a blanket ruling by ordering all pubs and food outlets serving alcoholic drinks to close,” she said.

Earlier today, Federal Territories Minister Annuar Musa said he had received complaints from the public that the operators were not practising social distancing rules within their premises.

“A friend of mine, who is a non-Muslim, said the patrons were sitting and hanging out like on normal days in the shop,” he added.

Annuar said the ministry and agencies under the FT security working committee had decided to place pubs and food stores that serve liquor under the “negative list”.

”This means they cannot operate during the CMCO period,” he said on his Facebook video today.

Many businesses, including pubs, started operating again yesterday when the CMCO came into force. These outlets had been closed since the lockdown began on March 18.

Hew said these food outlets would suffer further losses because they would have placed orders from their suppliers for meat and vegetables for their restaurants.

“These are perishable items and cannot be stored for a long time,” she said, adding that the minister should reconsider his decision.

However, Kent Chua, who manages 20 food outlets nationwide, including in Kuala Lumpur, said he agreed with Annuar’s decision as operators were not prepared to entertain customers under the “new normal” environment.

“We have had little time to get acquainted with the new standard operating procedures and to train our staff to deal with customers.”

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