Coalition of retail groups backs benefits for fully vaccinated, suggests reopening malls once staff hit 70pc herd immunity threshold

A visitor takes the escalator at the NU Sentral shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur June 2, 2021. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
A visitor takes the escalator at the NU Sentral shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur June 2, 2021. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

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KUALA LUMPUR, July 25 — A coalition of retail groups has welcomed Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s announcement of a relaxation of Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOP) for the fully vaccinated.

In a joint statement, the group said that it has long advocated these privileges so that businesses can safely reopen as soon as possible, adding this move will reduce the escalating number of business closures, layoffs and unemployment.

“This should apply to all types of businesses including shopping malls, street front shops and other outlets as well as entertainment, gym, spa, family entertainment centres, theme parks, waterparks and all other gated control attractions,” it said.

The group also suggested that a threshold of 70 per cent herd immunity is acceptable, citing the fact that several sources had estimated that herd immunity ranges from 60 to 80 per cent.

“Based on this threshold, we suggest that a shop can open for business so long as 70 per cent of the working crew in attendance at any one time to serve the public has been fully vaccinated. Furthermore, only customers who are fully vaccinated would be admitted.

“For shopping malls, over and above the control of admission of shoppers who are determined by MySejahtera as ‘low-risk’ and ‘casual contact — no symptom’ status and with temperatures below 37.5 degrees, we will additionally check the Vaccination Status from the respective shopper's MySejahtera and only admit those who have been fully vaccinated.

“Thus, shops within the malls need not repeat this process and the mall will effectively become a type of Green Bubble environment,” the group said.

The coalition said that with the suggestion given, it is a manageable risk for all shops in a mall to be allowed to reopen, thereby improving the chances of revival and survival of retail businesses.

“Malls will become a Green Bubble environment for the public to seek relief and release after being cooped up for so long as well as for some physical exercise and mental health therapy,” it said.

The group added that the vaccination privilege will create further urgency for people to get their Covid-19 jabs, urging more inoculation capacity and more PPVs to achieve herd immunity faster.

“We look forward to the earliest announcement so that the economy can restart and recover and halt the debilitating impact of the prolonged lockdowns,” it said.

The statement was signed by Malaysia Shopping Malls Association (PPK), Malaysia Retailers Association (MRA), Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MRCA), Bumiputra Retailers Organisation (BRO), Malaysia REIT Managers Association (MRMA) and Malaysian Association of Theme Park and Family Attractions (Matfa).

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