Law enforcement officers checking a restaurant that was placing chairs and tables outside the premises.
Kota Kinabalu: City Hall is taking on restaurants that offer sidewalk dining, with eight operators dialed in, so far, to set up chairs and tables in common areas outside. Under the agency’s standard operating procedures (SOPs), restaurant patrons should be seated “di dalam kawasan bangunan” (within restaurant boundaries) and not on pedestrian streets or on five-foot lanes beside these premises. A spokesperson for the City Hall Enforcement Department said a compound of RM 10,000 was issued to homeowners who violated this SOP.
He explained that five of these penalized people ran shops in Sembulan, two did the same in Likas, while the last had a restaurant in the Sepanggar Bay area. “One of the Likas operators was asked to pay an additional 20,000 RM at the resorts as he / she continued to entertain customers outside of his premises despite being penalized once before,” he said. declared. He said the penalties were imposed in accordance with the conditions stipulated by the Ministry of Health’s Ordinance on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Law 342). Section 25 of this law was amended earlier this year to allow for the imposition of more severe penalties. When this prescription was first introduced in 1988, the maximum compound was RM 1,000. In March, this amount was increased to RM 10,000 for individuals and RM 50,000 for legal persons. The spokesperson said the city hall’s decision to ban sidewalk meals was nothing new. “This is the third revision of our SOPs to carry this ban. Verbal warnings were given to restaurant operators in previous reviews, asking them not to place chairs and tables in their common areas. “Now we can no longer stand by and let our instructions go unheeded. We have to show traders that we are serious. “
Mayor Noorliza Awang Alip explained that the town hall’s position was driven by its unwavering commitment to breaking the chain of transmission of Covid. “We are strict about sidewalk meals given the growing number of Covid cases in the state. A large portion of these cases originate from the state capital. “However, manpower constraints prevented us from conducting a unified operation across the state capital. Noorliza said town hall had been inundated with complaints from disgruntled restaurant operators who felt they were being unfairly targeted by the agency. “Our agents have tried to respond to their comments as quickly as possible. Asked about payments collected by town hall for sidewalk meals before the current ban, Noorliza said those fees would be credited to restaurant operators who paid for them. “This amount will be carried over to their respective accounts and will only be deducted as the ban is lifted.” An operator said he paid RM2,800 to dine on the sidewalk at his premises in the city’s Kg Air district. He specified that he paid the agency this sum every three months to take advantage of this privilege. “Dinner was not allowed for months and as such I couldn’t put chairs and tables outside my cafe,” he said. “Now that I can finally have customers on my premises, I feel that the ban on sidewalk eating is a big blow. A lot of my customers like to sit on the pedestrian street in front of my shop and chat. He said the ban got even worse when he went to Sembulan. “There were chairs and tables outside several restaurants in town. Guests ate their meals in the common areas here. “I asked a waiter at one of these premises if he had heard of the ban on sidewalk eating. Staff responded that their boss had not received such instructions from the town hall. Kah denounced the agency for practicing double standards in the way the ban was enforced.