Wednesday, August 5

SDMC: Petrol stations, factories that operate 24 hours exempt from restricted business hours

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The decision to allow certain businesses to operate for 24 hours was decided today after a lengthy discussion on the matter. File Photo

KUCHING: Petrol stations and factories which operate for 24 hours daily can still operate per normal from Aug 1 to 14 in Zone 1 areas in Sarawak, despite the reduced operating hours enforced by the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC).

For 14 days starting Aug 1, businesses can only operate from 6am to 10pm in Zone 1 areas.

SDMC chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas said this was decided today after a lengthy discussion on the matter.

“If at present they operate for 24 hours, they can still operate for 24 hours from Aug 1 to 14. But they must first give notification to SDMC,” said Uggah at the Covid-19 daily update today.

Zone 1 consists of Kuching, Samarahan and Serian divisions while Zone 2 consists of Sri Aman, Betong, Sarikei, Kapit, Sibu, Mukah, Bintulu, Miri and Limbang divisions.

Zone 1 includes districts currently classified as red and yellow zones, while Zone 2 are green zones.

To a question, Uggah said the decision to allow certain 24-hour businesses to operate as usual does not include 24-hour convenience stores and food courts.

“You see, the reason why we decided to shorten the business operating period because we found that in some places like restaurants and supermarkets, it was difficult for the people there to practice social distancing.

“We hope with this reduction of operating hours, the enforcing of social distancing rules will be better observed. At the same time, we hope this type of ruling will make people more aware that the situation is not back to normal yet. And since it is not back to normal, we must adopt the new norm.

“It is not meant to give you problems. We hope that by all these measures, the curve will be flattened and problem will be resolved, and we will go back to normal,” he said.

He also hoped the people will also not go around and ‘ronda-ronda’ (loitering around) during the reduced business hours period, and also avoid close contact with each other in public places.

“For example, if there are a few of you still sitting at the coffee shop and do not observe social distancing, then the police will take action,” he said.

He also called on those who like to go for cycling activities to also avoid carrying out such activities after 10pm.

“We advise them now please, we are not in a normal situation. So, everyone has to sacrifice in one way or another,” he said.

The reduction in business operating hours in Zone 1 was announced by SDMC on July 27 following the recent spike in Covid-19 cases in Kuching and surrounding areas.