As crowds continue unabated, one wet market in Penang enforces social distancing

Each person is scanned before entering the Juru market in Penang March 20, 2020. — Picture courtesy of Gooi Hsiao Leung
Each person is scanned before entering the Juru market in Penang March 20, 2020. — Picture courtesy of Gooi Hsiao Leung

GEORGE TOWN, March 20 — Penangites have continued to throng some wet markets and supermarkets in the state despite the Movement Control Order (MCO).

On the third day of the MCO, people continued to go to wet markets ostensibly to buy food supplies while others have carried on with outdoor activities such as jogging and cycling.

Most marketgoers, particularly in open-air markets like the one in Air Itam, did not practise social distancing as they queued at or crowded the stalls even though many were wearing face masks.

Over in Juru, Bukit Tengah assemblyman Gooi Hsiao Leung’s team worked with the Village Community Management Council to enforce social distancing in the Juru wet market to control over-crowding.

Gooi said there were concerns that crowds are gathered in wet markets without any supervision as these places have to remain open during the MCO.

“We have to introduce measures to control over-crowding at the market and to ensure social distancing,” he said.

The measures introduced today included limiting the number of people entering the market complex to only 50 people at any one time.

“We marked boundary lines of 1-metre distances for people queuing to enter the market,” Gooi said.

People have to queue 1 metre apart before entering Juru market in Penang March 20, 2020. — Picture courtesy of Gooi Hsiao Leung
People have to queue 1 metre apart before entering Juru market in Penang March 20, 2020. — Picture courtesy of Gooi Hsiao Leung

He said the temperature of everyone entering the market will be checked before they are allowed to enter.

Hand sanitisers were also provided for the marketgoers to use when they enter and exit the market.

“We will be disinfecting the marketplace on a daily basis to clean the work surfaces to protect the public against viral infections,” he said.

Additionally, his team will be handing out flyers with information on how to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Meanwhile, the city council’s enforcement officers and police have continued to conduct checks in public places and advised those found loitering outside to go home and remain indoors.

Penang Police Chief Comm Datuk Sahabudin Abd Manan have said they will continue to advise the public to adhere to the MCO.

“We welcome anyone to report to us if they notice any groups gathered in public places and we will take appropriate action,” he said.

He said, for now, the police will continue to give advice before sterner action is taken.

The MCO is to remain in force until March 31 and all Malaysians are required to stay at home at all times except to buy food, medicine and to travel to work.

*Note: A previous edition of the story contained an error which has since been corrected.

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