Dine-in at restaurants allowed in phases in Penang from Friday, says Chow

Members of the public observe social distancing guidelines while waiting to pack food at Nasi Kandar Ayam Merah in Ipoh May 4, 2020. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Members of the public observe social distancing guidelines while waiting to pack food at Nasi Kandar Ayam Merah in Ipoh May 4, 2020. — Picture by Farhan Najib

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GEORGE TOWN, May 12 — Dine-in services will be allowed in Penang from Friday onwards but this is only limited to restaurants in hotels, shopping malls and fast-food chains, Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow announced today.

The Penang lawmaker said approval for dine-in services to start in eateries in Penang will be introduced in two phases in Penang.

The first phase starts this Friday and guidelines for the dine-in service will be provided by both city councils after coordination between the local government Exco and the state health department.

“As for food premises in other categories, based on advice from the state health department, dine-in is still not allowed yet and it will be refined and finalised under phase two,” he said.

Chow said this was the decision made by the state special security committee that he chaired this morning.

He said Penang will be entering the reopening phase of its gradual recovery strategy tomorrow where all sectors and activities allowed by the federal government under the conditional movement control order (CMCO) will be allowed in Penang subject to the standard operating procedures (SOPs).

“The list of prohibited activities and businesses is as per announced by the federal government so activities not in the list are allowed,” he said.

This included individual recreational activities that did not involve groups such as jogging and cycling.

However, Chow said Taman Bandaraya (Youth Park), Metropolitan Park, Botanics Garden, Vision Park, Mengkuang Dam, Kamloon Beach, Air Hitam Dalam Educational Forest, Hutan Lipur Cerok Tokun, Hutan Lipur Bukit Panchor and Bukit Juru Forest Reserve are still closed to the public.

“All sports complexes, stadiums and community centres are still closed so all recreational activities are limited to neighbourhood parks and pocket parks,” he said.

Chow said it has been three weeks that Penang has not recorded any new novel coronavirus (Covid-19) cases and the police has said there were no arrests between May 4 and 10 of anyone breaching the MCO and CMCO.

He said the state government, together with related agencies with the health department as the technical advisor, will be refining the implementation of SOPs for the testing of workers at construction sites and in factories.

As for religious activities, he said the state will be adhering to the SOPs that will be issued by the federal government and this will apply to all religions.

“Based on the advice from the state health director, for Hari Raya celebrations, it is advised that the maximum number of guests in flats and apartments must not be more than seven guests at any one time,” he said.

He said the state had continued to conduct Covid-19 tests on high-risk groups such as at madrasah and tahfiz schools, foreigners, homes for the elderly and the carers and market workers involving 35 markets in the state.

He said all tests have tested negative and that the state will continue to increase testing despite being a green zone.

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