Businesses brace for second wave

Datuk Sim Kiang Chiok

KUCHING: With the second wave of Covid-19 hitting the state, businesses will be affected again.

Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers Association (Sheda) Kuching Branch chairman Sim Kiang Chiok said the sudden spike in cases in Kuching immediately turned the city back into the yellow zone, after turning green on July 8.

“This spike was classified as the beginning of the second wave by State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, and it will have much impact on the business sector,” he said in a statement on Thursday (July 23).

Sim pointed out that the closing down of Stutong Market on July 18, after two traders were tested positive, basically put Sarawakians on high alert.

“This closing of the market has much negative impact on the traders and hawkers’ livelihood.

“The spike also affected other businesses, especially coffee shops and restaurants, as more people would reduce their exposure in public and crowded spaces,” he explained.

Furthermore, Sim also highlighted that businesses would be affected, such as major business decision would be put off like the idea of purchasing a car or a house by the public.

“Until a vaccine or cure is found, businesses will have to pull through the spike and second wave. Business owners also hope that there will be no lockdown as in the initial MCO, and their premises will not be closed for too long if there is any infection case in their premises.

“The government economy assistance will need to be reviewed to accommodate this second or even the third wave, where businesses can’t operate and livelihoods are affected,” he stated.

Moreover, Sim stated that more assistance were needed and the economic recovery would take longer than initially planned, as banks had to be made more accommodative in their loans arrangements with borrowers.

“This includes the government’s economic reviving plan needs to be spaced out into a longer period, and more cash to hand out may be needed.

“This pandemic is definitely making our livelihood difficult, but to win this war against the invisible enemy we need stay alive and be healthy which will give us the chance to recoup our livelihood later,” he concluded.

Additionally, Sim also reminded the public to keep up with social distancing, always do hand washing and wear a mask when in crowded places.