KUCHING: It was all quiet in the city centre here on the first day of the movement control order in Sarawak.
At the India Street pedestrian mall, nearly all shops were closed apart from a pharmacy and a couple of eateries.
Similarly, shops along Carpenter Street, Gambier Street and Main Bazaar were shuttered except grocery stores and other essential businesses.
Police personnel from the central police station and tourist police unit were seen monitoring the situation, advising shops which were still open to close and checking the MySejahtera and manual registration methods for those allowed to operate.
According to standard operating procedures, all economic sectors are not allowed to operate during the two-week MCO from May 20 to June 11 except those listed as essential services.
However, some traders said more specifics were needed as to which sectors were considered essential services.
“I saw the SOP after 5.30pm Friday (May 28). It’s not clear which shops or sectors are allowed to operate,” a textile shop owner at India Street said, but adding that he would close his shop during the MCO.
Juliana Abdullah, who runs a home-based business selling cakes, observed that more shops were allowed to open during the current MCO compared to last year.
“During the first MCO last year, I could not buy any ingredients as most shops were closed. This time I’m thankful that the food supply sector can operate,” she said.
Meanwhile, furniture shop operator David Phang said the MCO should have been implemented much earlier as the number of Covid-19 cases in the state had been rising since early this year.
“It’s rather late to do it now but at least it is being implemented before Gawai,” he said, referring to the harvest festival which falls on June 1 and 2.