KUCHING, July 16 — It may have been weeks since Sarawakians have been allowed to have a meal in an eatery but the greenlight given for dine-in from today has been met with mixed reactions, including from operators.
Peter Lim, 62, who operates a coffee shop at Icom Square, said he was caught somewhat unprepared by the decision of the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) to allow dine-in.
He said he could not place seats for customers yet as his workers, especially those in their 20s, have yet to receive their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, leading to a manpower shortage.
“Although the ones running the stalls here and I have been vaccinated, some of my staff, especially the young waiters, have yet to receive their jabs.
“Without the workers, how can I properly operate my coffee shop? Due to standard operating procedure (SOP) compliance, I cannot allow workers who have not been vaccinated to work,” he said
As such, he urged the government to speed up the immunisation programme so that those who have yet to receive their vaccines will be vaccinated.
In its announcement yesterday, SDMC said that dine-in was restricted to eateries whose operators and workers have been vaccinated with at least the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine. (Click here for full standard operating procedure for eateries)
The decision also comes following a review and some improvements to the standard operating procedures (SOP) at eateries.
Patrila Augustine, 54, who operates a restaurant in Samarahan, said that though the government now allows dining-in, she remained cautious as the country was still fighting the pandemic.
“With the ongoing pandemic, I dont really agree on this decision. But because my customers really missed dining in at my restaurant, Im opening my doors for them to dine in,” she said.
During The Borneo Post’s visit to Patrila’s restaurant at lunch hour, there were still many customers who opted for takeaways.
Nicole Garnett, 24, who was met at Patrila’s restaurant, admitted that she still had reservations about dining in, although she agreed with the decision to allow it with conditions.
“Personally (although) I quite agree with it, it’s just that there are several factors to consider. There are those who have yet to receive their vaccines and looking at the current situation such as the new Covid-19 variant detected, this makes me consider whether to dine in or not,” she added.
At Icom Square, Ahmad Ramudin, 43, was glad that dine-in was allowed again.
“I really welcome this decision and I can finally have my food here in the restaurant.
“All these while, the food is only for take-aways. With the movement control order (MCO) still in effect, whatever the restrictions placed by the government, there is nothing that can be done except to just adhere to them,” he said.
Another customer, Sapiah Unus, 42, said that by dining in at coffee shops, she can help provide income to coffee shops affected by the pandemic.
“Of course there are restrictions when dining in, such as only two persons allowed at a table, but at least we can help contribute to their income,” she said.
Calvin Nelson, 21, said it was vital that eatery operators adhered to SDMC’s regulations.
“If you ask me whether to dine in or takeaway, this will depend on the situation. So long as they (the operators) abide by the SOP such as social distancing and so on, I have no problem with it.
“If the shop is not following the SOP, I will not dine there,” he said. — Borneo Post Online