Sarawak drops extended hours plan for food biz amid mounting criticisms

Ramadan e-bazaar (The Star Pic)

By Emma Victoria

BARELY 24 hours after allowing food traders to operate until 10pm during the fasting month, the Sarawak government has backtracked on the decision.

This came amid widespread criticisms over concerns that the move could undo weeks of gains from the Movement Control Order to contain the spread of Covid-19.

The food traders are now required to follow the initial operation hours set, which is 7am to 7pm.

Food traders and hawkers are also not allowed to operate within their residential or house compound.

Sarawak disaster management committee in  a statement said the decision was made after receiving feedback from the leaders and public, including those who expressed their opinions via social media.

Food traders can only sell their food item through online platforms and they are encouraged to use delivery services and online payments.

“Only Ramadan e-bazaars will be allowed,” the statement added.

Yesterday, the same committee had given the green light for food traders to operate within their own residential compound, offering takeaways only during Ramadan. They would be allowed to operate between 3pm and 10pm only.

Many had disagreed with the extend business hours as it could hasten the spread of Covid-19.

Among those who had criticised the decision to loosen MCO rules during the fasting month include Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii, Assistant Minister of Local Government and Housing Dr Annuar Rapaee and Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) Women chief Kho Teck Wan.

Meanwhile, Sarawak has recorded another four new cases today, bringing the tally to 459 while 27 patients were discharged.

Two new cases were reported in Sibu while one each in Miri and Bintulu, respectively.

Meanwhile, two districts; Sibu and Sarikei have improved from yellow to green zone.

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