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Klang Valley bazaar stalls rush to clear stock, restaurants brace for reduced sales amid MCO 3.0

KUALA LUMPUR: Othlan Jalil, 34 was getting the charcoal fire up to roast his first batch of syrup-glazed chicken wings. There were two more days to go before he would shut for Hari Raya this year.

“I had hoped that we could last all the way until the eve of Hari Raya (on May 12). There’s not enough time to clear stock this year,” he said, adding that he still has 340kg of raw chicken wings in the freezer.

The vendor at the Subang Perdana Ramadan Bazaar in Selangor state added: “At least the wings can still be eaten, but my main aim is to sell them off,” he said on Thursday (May 6). 

“But it’s alright, better than 2020 when we couldn’t do business at all.”

Bazaar stall vendors and restaurants in the Klang Valley were scrambling to clear remaining stock or pivot their operations, after the government retightened COVID-19 curbs before the Hari Raya holiday next week.

On Tuesday, Senior Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that six Selangor districts would be placed under a movement control order (MCO) from May 6 until May 17. 

The minister added on Wednesday that Kuala Lumpur and three districts in Johor, including Johor Bahru, will be placed under MCO from May 7 to May 20.

In the six affected districts in Selangor, bazaars will have to shut from May 8 onwards. Dine-in will not be permitted from May 6 onwards.

As for Kuala Lumpur, bazaars are allowed to operate albeit with reduced hours. Dine-in, however, has been banned from May 7.

These latest curbs are commonly dubbed MCO 3.0 as this is the third time MCO has been imposed amid a spike in cases. 

READ: KL and JB among areas placed under MCO as Malaysian government retightens COVID-19 curbs

Over at the parking lot of the Kelana Jaya Light Rail Transit (LRT) station in Selangor state, tepung pelita kueh seller Nur Aisyah Syafiah Shamsudin, 26 was fighting a futile battle with the late afternoon heavy rains, trying to keep her table dry.

“I have to just accept the announcement. Maybe find another space or open a roadside stall to finish selling all the way until (Hari) Raya eve,” Ms Nur Aisyah said on Thursday. 

As it is, some traders at the LRT station bazaar have already closed shop, she pointed out, due to the heavy weather since the start of this week, even before the MCO announcement. 

“Today, I just brought four trays (288 pieces of tepung pelita). Even then I’m not sure if I can finish (selling) today’s stock,” she said. 

Nur Aisyah Syafiah Shamsudin tries in vain to keep her stall dry amid the late afternoon rain at a Ramadan bazaar in Kelana Jaya. (Photo: Vincent Tan)

KL RESTAURANTS BRACE FOR FALL IN REVENUE

Meanwhile, restaurant operators in Kuala Lumpur were bracing themselves for a drop in revenue for the Hari Raya season, as they once again pivoted their operations to delivery business only.

Aloft Kuala Lumpur Sentral’s marketing communication manager Natasha Venner-Pack said that the revenue from takeaway and delivery would not match that of dine-in. 

"For Nook (restaurant), including our outdoor seating we see about 120 diners daily. We were fully booked every night (for Ramadan). 

“The revenue from delivery and takeaway will not be the same as dine-in but we know that already. So we are just doing our best with what we can in this situation,” she said. 

READ: Please don't shut us down, say Malaysia's Ramadan bazaar vendors amid COVID-19 fears 

EQ Kuala Lumpur group marketing and communications manager Rafina A Rahman also said that revenue of the hotel's restaurants would definitely be affected by the no dine-in policy. 

“It will be foolish to say that there will be no impact as we are all recommended to stay at home to flatten the curve. Naturally, we are all in cost-saving mode,” she said. 

“Thankfully, with our experience from the previous MCOs, we are able to mobilise our delivery and takeaway service quickly,” she said. 

To adapt to the situation, she added that one of the hotel restaurants, Nipah, would have a drive-through for guests to make their purchase. 

Another restaurant, Etoile Bistro, would operate for takeaways as well. 

Banyan Tree Kuala Lumpur marketing and communications executive Angela Leow said: “The type of food we can deliver differs from what we can offer for dine-in, so we have a separate menu for that and the price varies. Yes, it would affect the revenue.”

She said that efforts were underway to roll out a delivery menu.

“We had a lot of things planned as our restaurants are usually fully booked for occasions especially for things like Mother's Day but now our next plan is to roll out the delivery menu.

“The last time during MCO it did okay. Yes, dining in does have higher revenue but we are hoping this time delivery would have improved revenue as well,” she said. 

On Thursday, Malaysia recorded 3,551 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the cumulative total to 427,927.

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Source: CNA/aw

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