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GEORGE TOWN, May 6 — Penang is gearing up to enter the second phase of its Penang Gradual Recovery Strategy on May 8 but the state government stressed that outdoor recreational activities, daycare centres and dine-in at eateries are still not allowed during this phase.
Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said phase two of the gradual recovery plan is the familiarisation period for people to ease into the new normal.
“The reason we are implementing these restrictions during the second phase is to prevent crowding in this familiarisation period,” he said in his message on Facebook today.
The restrictions on outdoor recreational activities, training centres, schools, daycare centres, public transportation and dining in at all eateries are still in force from May 8 onwards.
He said this familiarisation phase is to allow the public to get used to the new normal of social distancing and taking extra care over personal and public hygiene while adhering to the standard operating procedures (SOP) by the National Security Council (NSC).
Chow said both city councils will be announcing the operation hours for businesses and companies that are allowed to operate under phase two of the gradual recovery plan.
He said the state exco this morning has decided to allow religious organisations, places of worship and schools to conduct maintenance and administrative work in their premises from May 8 onwards.
“The gradual recovery strategy was formulated using risk based analysis by taking into account the state’s high population density, the SOP and new normal practices,” he said.
He said if the state was not careful about preventing crowding, the risk of the virus spreading would be high.
“We may have been cleared but we should not be too relaxed as experts have warned that there might be a third wave if we are not careful about ensuring public health through social distancing, the wearing of face masks and other SOPs,” he said.
He appealed to all Penangites and businesses to be patient as the state has to be very careful to protect the people from the spread of Covid-19.
He said the state’s gradual recovery strategy will include permitted activities and additional state-level adjustment which will be released soon.
On the state’s economy, Chow said the state did not expect it to bounce back immediately with the gradual re-opening of the economy.
“According to a crisis report prepared by Penang Institute, 17 out of 46 types of manufacturers had recorded zero income,” he said.
He said Penang is still competitive in terms of attracting foreign direct investments (FDI) as it has recorded the highest FDI of RM16.9 billion in the manufacturing sector in the country.
“Based on this, the FDIs are expected to create 18,886 new job opportunities for 2020 and 2021,” he said.
Chow then announced the Penang Aid Package 2.0 amounting to RM76 million as the state’s efforts to assist those affected by the pandemic and to spur the state’s economy.
This brings the total economic stimulus announced by the state to RM151 million.