In Kota Samarahan, most eateries agree with lifting of dine-in privileges as Covid-19 cases soar

Restaurants in Kota Samarahan will once again be hit by prohibition on dine-in customers. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin
Restaurants in Kota Samarahan will once again be hit by prohibition on dine-in customers. — Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

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SERIAN, Aug 23 — Most eatery operators interviewed agree with Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC)’s no dine-in directive for a week from yesterday, with some reluctant to open their outlets.

Checks at the commercial hubs of Jalan Song, Metrocity, Jalan Matang and Uni Central in Kota Samarahan showed many restaurants only open for takeaway with no tables and chairs for dining in.

Kelvin Bong, 47, a manager at Dumenyi BBQ in a mall at Jalan Song said it is too risky to allow dine-in as the number of Covid-19 positive cases is still high.

“No dine-in is ok. We are following the government directives and prioritise SOPs which must be followed. If the government decides to extend it after Aug 29, we are willing to adhere to it for the safety of everyone. Business is of course not as good with only takeaways,” he said.

Nevertheless, he added, takeaways are better than nothing, as he needs to maintain the restaurant, staff and pay the rent.

“As long as we break even and I am able to pay my rental and staff salary, that is good enough for us. We are grateful that the management has given us between 30 and 50 per cent discount on rental,” revealed Bong, who has been operating for two years.

One of the owners of Fauziah Family Café in Metrocity at Jalan Matang, Abang AzrenIliya Abang Arshad, 23, said they were a bit reluctant to open the food court with soaring daily cases.

 “We are undecided. If we do not open, there would be no income. If we are open, cases are very high and we do not know who the carriers are.

“It is good that SDMC stop dine-in for a week. Of course it is painful as just two weeks ago, dine-in was allowed and we have just started to recover from losses and now no dine-in allowed.

“Nevertheless, we adhere with the government’s directives because Kuching Covid-19 cases are really high this past one week -in thousands. If the government directs lockdown it is better still, once and for all,” said Abang Azren.

For MummyPatz Dayak Café specialising in Dayak food situated at Uni Central in Kota Samarahan, owner Patrila Augustine, 54, said the shop has been closed a week before the SDMC directive because of high positive cases of Covid-19 around Samarahan.

“We have been closed since last week because there were many cases in Samarahan area. We rather look after ourselves, our families and decided to close. If we close until Aug 29, that means would mean two weeks. Definitely, the government is making the right move by not allowing dine-in.

“Taking care of ourselves is far more important that profit. We can always look for money, but health is wealth,” she said.

Briyani World Northern and Southern Indian Muslim food restaurant manager Anverdeen Abdul Rasheed, 56, also agreed with the government directive but said such directive should also apply to supermarkets where there are many people.

‘We are OK with no dine-in is allowed for a week but the government should also monitor supermarkets which are always full of people. They are bound to get infected too.

“It maybe better to have a total lockdown for a week in Kuching except for essential services to bring cases down,” he said. — Borneo Post

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