JOHOR BARU, March 23 — The Johor government has issued a guideline to limit the operating hours of several business premises or services during the ongoing movement control order (MCO) throughout the state, starting today.

According to a list issued by the state government, the latest guideline covers restaurants, convenience stores in petrol stations and 24-hour convenience stores that will see their operating hours limited to 7am to 7pm.

Department stores are to close by 7pm, while markets, pasar malam and pasar tani (farmers’ market) are not allowed to operate throughout the duration of the MCO.

Johor Health and Environment Committee chairman R. Vidyananthan said the state government has agreed to shorten the period of operation of business premises and the respective local councils must make arrangements for business premises to adhere to it.

“Traders and the public are asked to refer to local councils in their respective areas for the recommended operation hours.

“With the enforcement of these business hours, it is hoped that all Johoreans will adhere to the MCO’s instructions and stay at home,” said Vidyananthan in an announcement on a “live” Facebook telecast via the Darul Ta’zim page today.

Checks by Malay Mail showed that some local councils had already started to enforce the new operation time according to the state government guidelines since yesterday.

Johor has a total of 14 municipal or local councils and two city councils.

On the latest Covid-19 figures for the state, Vidyananthan said to date, Johor has reported a total of 145 cases which also involved one death on March 17.

“Today marks the sixth day of the MCO and as of yesterday, Malaysia has reported a total of 1,306 Covid-19 cases.

“To date, there has been an increase of two deaths in Malaysia bringing the total to 10, while 1,157 active Covid-19 cases are being treated throughout the country,” he said.

Vidyananthan, who is also the Kahang assemblyman. said the state government appreciated the private sector’s donations in contributing to the Johor State Disaster Fund.

He also thanked the state’s health and safety personnel whom he described as frontliners to the government.

“They are always ready and responsive in carrying out their tasks in dealing with the Covid-19 crisis,” he said.

Earlier, the Kedah government also limited the operating hours of several business premises or services in line with the nationwide MCO, from 6am to 8pm throughout the state, starting today.

Pahang was the first state to announce its limit to operating hours for business premises, including petrol stations and 24-hour convenience stores in five of its districts last week.