Food operators welcome back diners

Pinang Bistro Restaurant’s staff preparing and arranging the tables according to SOP.

KUCHING: Most food operators and stall owners are glad to be able to operate their businesses as usual, albeit having less customers due to the ongoing pandemic.

The food sector has been badly affected due to Covid-19 and also by the implementation of movement control order (MCO) statewide.

They expect the business to thrive when customers start coming in to eat at their restaurants or food courts after Sarawak allows dine-ins beginning today.

However, there were fewer people coming in to dine-in at eateries as there were still concerns over the spread of the Covid-19 infection, especially with the new more infectious Delta variant.

Still, the food operators and stall owners were glad that they could finally open their food business, while hoping that eventually their business would once again blossom.

The New Atmosfera Restaurant

“I am grateful that the state government has allowed restaurants and other eateries to open up as it will help to bring back the economy and also the revenue of my restaurant,” said Ahmad Zeb, a 39-year-old owner of the New Atmosfera Restaurant here.

Ahmad Zeb

Ahmad added that his restaurant used to have around 18 employees before the pandemic hit. Now he has only nine employees doing the serving and working in kitchen.

“I doubt that business will go well. Most of the customers coming in ordered takeaways and some stayed to eat. However, I’m positive that this problem will soon go away over time,” he said.

Mohd Nurhalim Mohd Hisham

Pinang Bistro Restaurant owner, Mohd Nurhakim Mohd Hashim, 32, was happy to reopen for business.

“I am confident that sales will go up gradually. People now can come in and eat at restaurants. It is still better than just taking takeaway orders,” said the 32-year-old.

Nurhakim assured that his employees were following the standard operating procedures (SOP) implemented by SDMC.

“We want to operate the restaurant business smoothly but we limit our workers to 50 percent capacity and also make sure customers at tables are strictly practising social distancing and allowed only two people at one table,” added Nurhakim.

Nasi Kandar Line Q restaurant

As for Abdul Sanuvulla, a 26-year-old manager at Nasi Kandar Line Q restaurant, the eatery used to be very busy with a lot of people coming in to eat, especially during lunch time on weekdays.

Abdul Sanuvulla

“As we open up the restaurant, there are people coming but not that many, not like before. The restrictions have really affected our operation where we used to have a workforce of around 10 workers and now only seven left,” said Abdul.

He said, however, that he was glad to be able to come back and work at the restaurant, and serve food to people.

A beverage (ABC) stall owner Vivian Liew, at the Open Air Market food court, was however disappointed that there were not many customers coming in to the food court.

“We cannot earn much if there are less customers coming in to eat and drink at the food court. The sales we make will not be enough for us to pay our rent and also to feed our families.

Vivian Liew, while making an ABC at her stall.

“I am glad though that we can open our business, but I am concerned and afraid at the same time as the virus is still around,” said Vivian.

She is worried that if one of her fellow stall owners or customers get infected with Covid-19, the food court will have to close down for weeks and wouod affect the food business.

“I do not want that to happen here as this is my main source of income to survive.

“Whatever it is, I just hope that customers and everyone out there to be careful even when dining-in,” she reminded.