Indian restaurant owners plead against dine-in ban during MCO, appeal for minimum seating capacity

Patrons are seen dining in at Hakim Restaurant in Shah Alam February 10, 2021. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Patrons are seen dining in at Hakim Restaurant in Shah Alam February 10, 2021. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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KUALA LUMPUR, May 5 — The Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners Association (Primas) has pleaded for the government to reverse its ban on dine-ins at eateries under the third movement control order (MCO), appealing that a minimum seating capacity be allowed to help restaurants to stay in business.

In a statement today, Primas president J. Suresh said that the rule banning dine-ins will “add more stress” onto restaurant operators who have already been struggling for over a year, adding that the newly reimposed MCO may further exacerbate their hardships.

“It will result in the closing of many outlets permanently and operators can’t even meet the basic needs for their employees and themselves.

“Restaurant should be allowed a minimum seating capacity, as operators are adhering to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) set by the authorities. A minimum seating capacity of two customers per table, would at least help support their daily management expenses,” Suresh said.

He also urged the government to expedite its vaccination programme for those in the service industry, as well as the general public, as well as to those living in Covid-19 affected areas. to reduce the number of infection cases.

He also asked for clear MCO guidelines, lamenting that there are many versions being shared on social media, which are “confusing and misleading”.

Senior Minister (Defence) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob yesterday said that the MCO in six Selangor districts from May 6 until 17 meant food outlets in these districts may not cater to dine-in orders during this period.

However, this will not affect similar outlets in Kuala Lumpur that will remain under the conditional MCO despite 408 more Covid-19 infections reported there yesterday.

Under the National Security Council’s (MKN) SOPs, food outlets in MCO areas are only allowed to fulfill takeaway and drive-through orders.

Ismail Sabri yesterday announced that Hulu Langat, Petaling, Gombak, Klang, Kuala Langat and Sepang in Selangor will come under the MCO beginning tomorrow.

During his security briefing yesterday, he said that the SOPs for the MCO districts would be similar to other states under the restriction order with no changes.

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