KUALA LUMPUR – Due to the lack of customers, the food sold at the eateries are rarely sold out as they used to be, said a hawker at the Tasik Selatan Food Court, Mohd Soleh Ibrahim who had to reheat the unsold food as there was no customer patronising his eatery throughout the Movement Control Order (MCO).
Although the government allows the eateries to operate until 10.00 pm, however, according to him, the number of customers is no longer the same.
His income has dropped a lot and if this situation goes on, the hawker with 20 years of experience can only last for two more weeks before he needs to end his business.
“Sometimes, we need to reheat our food. Customers rarely come in. The food cannot last long. This is just a small eatery, it may be worse for a bigger restaurant.
“I think that many restaurants will close down in one or two weeks’ time,” he said during a news conference with the President of Small and Medium Scale Entrepreneurs Association of Malaysia (Ikhlas), Datuk Mohd Ridzuan Abdullah.
Therefore, Soleh, who is also the Chairman of Tasik Selatan Food Court Association requested the government to consider allowing dine-ins.
He said, the permission to allow customers to dine-in can be implemented again with strict standard operating procedures (SOP).
He said, other food operators are also ready to comply with the SOP.
“Study first. If there is infection from dining together at the same table at the restaurant and please help us to find a way. We hope that the government can think thoroughly. SOP to place two people at a table, if it contributes to Covid-19,” he added.
We are not merely hoping for the government’s assistance, on the contrary, Soleh hopes that their income will not be affected.
“We have children to support, debts to be paid. I know that there are assistance packages. The people do not want these packages. We want the opportunity to hold business activities. Aids will finish when time comes,” he added.
Meanwhile, a Chinese restaurant operator in Puchong, Kevin Chee is also affected by the current situation.
He said, his income has reduced and he still needs to pay for monthly premise rental, employees’ hostel rental and utility bills.
“Just like other restaurants, the Chinese restaurant operators are also affected,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mohd Ridzuan hopes that the government can issue a new SOP for eateries which are suffering now.
He said, many restaurants and eateries cannot afford to pay for their high rental commitment and if it continues, many other restaurants will close down.
“Some owners refuse to reduce the rentals. Some cannot afford to pay for their mortgage and the economy will also be affected. At least, allow a table for one or two,” he added.
Earlier, Mohd Ridzuan alleged that almost 60,000 restaurants in the Klang Valley have closed down as they cannot afford high commitment during the MCO. –MalaysiaGazette