GEORGE TOWN, July 7 — Some small businesses that have been closed since June 1 due to Phase One of the National Recovery Plan (NRP) reopened today to brisk business much to the owners’ relief.
Businesses like barbers, hairdressers, book, stationery, computers, telecommunication devices, and electrical appliances shops and car wash businesses are allowed to reopen under Phase Two which starts today.
At some car wash centres, cars were seen queuing to enter as workers manually sprayed, scrubbed and washed vehicles.
While hair salons that are preparing to reopen today are also getting calls and walk-in customers from the moment they open for business.
Over at Flair Hair Salon, siblings Jonathan and Janice Lim, are preparing to reopen for business by cleaning up the salon, sanitising equipment and placing markers for physical distancing.
“We have been getting calls from regular customers over the last few days asking when they can come and many have booked appointments,” Jonathan, 30, said.
He said they will need to make sure the air-conditioner is in working order and clean up the shop since it was closed since June 1, before they can open for business.
Throughout the whole of June and the first week of July, he said they could only sell their hair care products such as shampoos, hair masks, creams and hair moisturisers online to cover costs.
“We have very little income and we still have to pay our bank loan for this shop space, our utility bills and employees,” he said.
They were relieved that now they can finally reopen but they were also worried as the SOPs under Phase Two of the NRP were not clear.
“We have to be very careful about adhering to the SOPs as we do not want to be penalised but the SOPs are so confusing, such as applying for the Miti approval letters, we are also worried that we might not get it right,” he said.
The Flair Hair Salon will be open daily from 11.30am to 8pm, except for Wednesdays, and they prefer customers to call for appointments at 04-6386548 or go to their Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/flairhairretrosalon.
“Our maximum capacity is only eight including hairstylists so it is better if customers make appointments and we can arrange the seating properly,” he said.
The salon also has a special private section for Muslim women and the same section can be used for families who come together.
Meanwhile, at one of the car wash centres, its owner, who wished to be known only as Lim, said he is glad that finally he is allowed to reopen after more than a month.
“It was not easy as we have many workers whose salaries we still have to pay and there was nothing we can do online,” he said.
He is also glad that he is now having brisk business at both of his car wash centres, one in Bukit Jambul and another in Paya Terubong.
Cars were queuing to enter his centres and he was also working along with his workers to wash the cars to shorten the waiting time for his customers.
“We make sure we follow all the SOPs and all of us wear our masks at all times,” he said.
Meanwhile, computer shops in Bukit Jambul Complex are also reopening today but despite it being a public holiday in Penang, there were very few customers around.
The person in charge at the Al-Hijrah Computer and IT Centre, Lily Dahlia Abd Rahman, said she had a pay cut when the shop was closed.
“I am glad that I can now come back to work and get a full salary,” she said.
She said the shop does provide pick-up and repair services over the last few weeks where they will go to the customer’s house, pick up the laptop or computer and then the technician will bring it back to repair at home.
One of the technicians, Nanda Febri Yansyah, 21, who is doing industrial training at the shop, said he has been repairing laptops at home since the shop had to close in June.
“I repaired around 50 laptops at home during this period,” he said.
The shop is open daily from 11am to 8pm.
Penangites also took advantage of the George Town Heritage Day public holiday today to walk, jog and hike at the parks that have reopened today, including Youth Park and Penang Botanic Gardens.
About 130 individuals entered Penang Botanic Gardens by 8.30am this morning for their morning walks and jogs.
Sports and Youth state exco Soon Lip Chee, who visited Youth Park and the Botanic Gardens this morning, said strict SOPs are in place to make sure park visitors are safe in the environment.
He said the state exco will also be considering allowing recreational areas under the Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) such as the Teluk Bahang Dam, Mengkuang Dam, Air Itam Dam and Bukit Dumbar Recreational Park to reopen to the public too.
Sports and recreational activities that are allowed under Phase Two of the NRP included jogging, individual exercise, tai chi, cycling, skateboarding, fishing, equestrian, archery, hiking, tennis (singles) and golf.