Pandemic to have long-term effect on economy

Dr Madeline Berma

KUCHING: Covid-19 continues to have a long-term effect on the economy despite the relaxations announced by the state authorities, opined Datuk Dr Madeline Berma.

The economist said that most full-service restaurants are operating but at small fractions of capacity.

“This is because some will respond immediately by dining in while the majority will delay and adopt the wait-and-see approach due to the fact that Covid-19 cases are still sky high.

“This shows that many of them lack confidence in the standard operating procedures (SOPs),” she added.

She further mentioned that in the long run, people will rely more on delivery and takeaway.

“Many food entrepreneurs are looking for ‘pandemic-proof’ models involving cloud kitchens and affordable dishes suitable for delivery, despite the relaxation.

“Once the restaurants invest in this technology, they will not and should not simply let it go once the pandemic is over,” she said.

Commenting on the impact of the relaxation for fast food restaurants, she said that it is limited due to them adopting digitalisation amid the global pandemic.

“The technologies open new possibilities for fast food restaurants to sustain their business; it also brings convenience to both the business and customers.

“Digitalisation has helped fast food restaurants to become more customer-centric during the pandemic, even during lockdowns,” she added.

She pointed out that the businesses have adapted quickly to the pandemic, enabling them to continue to sustain or strengthen their fast-food business.

“In other words, the relaxation will increase domestic consumers’ confidence but limit the impact on investors’ confidence,” she said.