PETALING JAYA: The decision by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti) has left coffee shop operators in a quandary.
Malaysia Singapore Coffee Shop Proprietors’ General Association (MSCSPGA) president Datuk Ho Su Mong said the latest announcement requires further clarification.
He said eatery operators need to know whether the announcement applies to eateries including coffee shop operators, which is an important sector.
“The announcement would be critical for the survival of many businesses as well as safeguarding the economy at large. But it is unclear if eateries in general including coffee shops can operate at full capacity and without time restrictions.
“Most states have different operating hours restrictions for all businesses and it is unclear how the latest announcement would be synchronised with the decisions on operating hours fixed by the different state governments,“ he said.
Ho said there are less customers when takeaways and deliveries are allowed, the government allow customers to dine-in based on ‘one customer per table’ rule.
The suggestion of having one customer per table to practice social distancing with no close physical contact, while at the same time helps to mitigate impact to eatery’s business.
Ho said the coffee shop businesses have seen significant impact since the Movement Control Order (MCO) was enforced. He also pointed out that coffeeshops are important retail point for beer and cigarettes.
“Customers seek to purchase such products but disruption of supplies for beer and cigarettes means we are deprived of income crucial to coffee shop owners during this difficult period,” he added.
Ho said illegal operators were taking advantage of the situation, where smuggled cigarettes are sold online and delivered to customers who are unable to obtain the products from a coffee shop.
He urged the government to allow distribution operations of legitimate cigarettes and beer to coffee shops which will help to mitigate the impact to the coffee shop business and at the same time contributes billions of taxes to the government.
“We have no idea how long the MCO is going to be extended. But with no flexibility for businesses during this difficult time, a lot of businesses will suffer which will lead to the economy being impacted,“ he added.