SIBU: Hawkers at the Sibu Central Market will open their businesses on rotation starting today until March 31 during the Movement Control Order (MCO).
Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) Market and Petty Traders standing committee chairman Albert Tiang said this is part of the council’s effort to avoid having too many people at the popular market
“Hawkers will open their stalls alternately. For example, let’s say today, we require hawkers at one row to operate, the hawkers at the next row should not open. The next day, we will change the rows.
“We have about 880 hawkers operating at the ground floor. That means, for the next two weeks, only about 400 stalls will operate daily,” he said, adding that through this, the hawkers themselves could practise social distancing.
When MCO was imposed yesterday, SMC chairman Clarence Ting had commented after monitoring the central market,that there were too many people and too many stalls opened.
Yesterday afternoon, SMC issued a notice that essential services under SMC’s purview are to remain open with social distancing.
They include Sibu Central Market but are limited only to edible food and drink and with controlled over the number of stalls operating.
Tiang said all hawkers had been informed yesterday afternoon regarding the measures that the council.
Dismissing claims that the hawkers had not been given due notice about the rotation system, he said the council had already informed the hawkers yesterday and they even have a diagram on whose turn is it to trade.
Tiang in response said that he understood that the hawkers wanted to open the stalls daily, but that could not be done for the time being.
He also said only SMC licensed hawkers can operate and those without license such as at the Pasar Tamu and Sunday Market are not permitted during the MCO.
Also at the Sibu Central Market, all the food stalls on the first floor have been closed for two weeks.
The tables and chairs had been condoned off by the SMC today to prevent members of the public from sitting down and dining in.
“We allowed food stalls to operate until 8pm daily on rotation and only restricted to take away and deliveries. However, many stall operators do not want it and rather not to open their business for two weeks, so the eateries are closed,” he said.
He said all eating outlets in the SMC jurisdiction are only allowed to open their business until 8pm daily and limited to take away and deliveries.