KUALA LUMPUR: Street meals vendor Ilyas Muhammad has been promoting apam balik pancake on the annual Ramadan bazaar at Kelana Jaya, Selangor for nearly yearly since 1999.
The solely exception was in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in bodily bazaars being banned throughout the nation.
However, bazaars have been allowed to function in most elements of the nation this yr, and enterprise homeowners like Ilyas have lauded the transfer.
“I’m grateful to be back this year, it’s a crucial source of income for me,” stated Ilyas.
“Ramadan does not feel like Ramadan without the bazaar, and if we stay committed to adhering to the SOPs (standard operating procedures to prevent spread of COVID-19), I don’t see why we cannot continue,” added the 37-year-old.
It has been greater than every week into the fasting month and there have been issues that the Ramadan bazaars may exacerbate the COVID-19 state of affairs.
Photos of giant crowds, with folks standing in shut proximity to 1 one other, have gone viral on social media and these have sparked fears that the choice to permit bazaars may result in a surge in circumstances.
The every day variety of infections in Malaysia has not too long ago hovered at greater than 2,000 circumstances every day, greater than the identical interval in 2020 when it was largely in double-digits.
On Thursday (Apr 22), Malaysia recorded 2,875 new circumstances and seven deaths, bringing the overall infections to 384,688 and the dying toll to 1,407.
Yet, bazaar vendors within the Klang Valley interviewed by CNA preserve that if guests and enterprise homeowners adhere to the SOPs, it could be protected for bazaars to proceed for the remainder of the fasting month.
PROTOCOLS ARE IN PLACE
Ilyas stated: “I’m scared of getting infected, so whatever it is, we all have to take care and adhere to the SOPs.
“Everyone has to wear a mask, (visitors must) scan the QR code at each store they visit and sellers wear gloves when handling food. So far, there has been no issue and everyone has complied with the rules.”
When CNA visited the bazaar, guests had been seen queueing to get in as there was a quota limiting the quantity of people that may very well be there at anyone time.
Before coming into, every customer needed to scan a QR entry code by way of the MySejahtera utility, measure temperature and acquire a quantity tag.
Although there have been indicators and marking tape directing the move of human site visitors, some folks seemed to be standing shut to 1 one other and not likely adhering to social distancing, particularly when queueing on the extra common stalls.
Another stall vendor on the Kelana Jaya bazaar, Siti Aisyah Yap, stated: “This year, our business has dipped by around 30 per cent. But I don’t think we would have survived another year not selling at the bazaar, so I’m thankful we are here.” The 60-year-old sells cooling desserts like dadih and air kathira.
“We are strict with the SOPs, we use an extra huge table to ensure we do not interact closely with any of our customers,” she added.
WARNING, TEMPORARY CLOSURE FOR NON-COMPLIANCE
For bazaars the place well being protocols usually are not adopted, the federal authorities has warned that they are going to be requested to shut.
Last week, Federal Territories Minister Annuar Musa stated in a press release that any of the 66 bazaars in Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan will probably be shut if a COVID-19 outbreak occurs as a result of lack of compliance to SOPs, together with bodily distancing.
The states of Kelantan and Sabah have banned Ramadan bazaars this yr as a result of rising COVID-19 circumstances.
The Greenwood Ramadan bazaar, positioned in Gombak on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, was shut for 4 days from Wednesday as a result of “failure” to stick to SOPs.
In a press release, director for the Selayang municipal council Mohamad Zin Masoad stated that the bazaar will probably be reopened with tighter SOPs, together with quotas for guests, no entry for youngsters beneath 12 years outdated in addition to older peoples above the age of 65. There can even be designated lanes to manage the motion of individuals.
“The Selayang Municipal Council would also like to remind visitors and vendors to not be lazy and careless in adhering to SOP to curb the spread of COVID-19,” he stated.
In Kuala Lumpur’s well-known Kampung Baru bazaar, the SOPs listed by the Selayang Municipal council have been carried out.
Despite this, social distancing has continued to be an issue. Closer to breaking quick time within the night, tons of of tourists had been seen thronging the bazaar from the varied entrances.
Vendor Muhammad Idris Yassin, who sells grilled rooster with mandhi rice, informed CNA that shut proximity between folks is one thing inevitable at a Ramadan bazaar. However, he expressed dedication to make sure that such interplay is stored to the minimal.
“I hope they don’t close the bazaar just because of a perceived lack of social distancing, because this is our livelihood. A big portion of what I earn during the year is from this bazaar and I hope the government does not steal away our rice bowls,” stated the 47-year-old.
“Maybe if there is a cluster or confirmed cases, I can then understand why they would shut us down. So far we’ve been okay I think,” he added.
Drink stall vendor on the Kampung Baru bazaar, Nurul Atiqah Khair, shared related sentiments.
“It has been a difficult year for me, I lost my job in retail and have struggled to make a living,” stated Nurul Atiqah.
“I hope this bazaar will be allowed to continue, at least it allows me to have a good Hari Raya with my family,” she added.