KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 23 — Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob today clarified that Putrajaya has never instructed hotels to close following the implementation of the movement control order (MCO). 

During a press conference today, he said that hotel restaurants in MCO areas can still open so long as they adhere to the strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) set by the government. 

“We have never instructed hotels to close, no matter what MCO they are currently under. If there are hotels that are totally closed because of a lack of customers, that has nothing to do with us.

“In fact, tourism in conditional movement control order (CMCO) and recovery movement control order (RMCO) states are now allowed to operate; only those in MCO areas cannot operate — but they can still open as they have restaurants that serve food, so there is no reason for hotels to close,” he said. 

On February 18, Ismail Sabri announced that the tourism and cultural sectors can reopen in states under CMCO or RMCO. 

He said businesses in these two sectors, such as recreational parks, theme parks and zoos, can only operate at half their capacity and must comply with CMCO SOPs. 

States that are currently under CMCO are Kedah, Perak, Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Negri Sembilan, Melaka, Sabah and Sarawak, while Perlis is the only state under RMCO.