AFTER having my lunch at a asam pedas restaurant in Desa Pandan yesterday’s afternoon, the owner asked me, “Dik, can I just open my shop as usual for the next thirteen days?”
“No problem, Bang. You can. But please remind your customers that they can just take their bought foods away or make an order via Grab Food or Food Panda. Obviously, no dine in,” I replied.
The owner looked demotivated despite having his business registered with Grab Food.
I have never been a business owner, nor managed a food place on behalf of an owner, but after seeing the owner’s face, I could feel how sad to be him during this difficult period, which he can’t serve his customers for their dine-in lunch for the next 13 days.
After the announcement made by the prime minister recently, I was thinking of several ideas on how the government and people can calmly experience the unprecedented restriction of movement?
Firstly, if I were the transport minister, I would summon all commercial e-hailing service providers that provide food delivery service, with the likes of Grab Food, to present to me what they have in their minds for their so-called business preparations along the restriction period.
If they could guarantee that their riders can be active as usual with not many food sellers shutting their businesses down, I would encourage the e-hailing providers to offer their riders with an additional tip of RM5 per trip for those who can deliver ordered foods or beverages to more than five residences at night.
For food and beverage operators that are willing to extend their operations until midnight, they could be given a special tax exemption with a condition that their foods and beverages sold to customers receive no customer-dissatisfaction complaints on quality and cleanliness of their foods or drinks.
And for customers, they could be given a 13-day promotion code, which the code could be used once every day to get a price cut of RM10 per order.
Secondly, for supermarkets, they could do a one-by-one entrance by just allowing certain numbers of customers in one particular time.
It’s up to a supermarket’s management to decide on the numbers of customers per entrance, but making this so-called rule is very indispensable in the next thirteen days as it can avoid a congestion that could harmfully expose the people with the infectious COVID-19.
It’s advisable that each section in the supermarkets is monitored by a staff in charge in ensuring that customers won’t buy a product, especially groceries, excessively.
Perhaps, as an example, for products like canned milk, one customer is just allowed to take up five cans.
Monitoring customers’ purchases can also be done by a staff in-charge placed at each counter. Customers who exceed the limit of a product purchase shall be asked to leave the goods on a special rack that may be labelled “exceeded buy rack” before they could proceed to make payment.
Lastly, for the people who are in a desperate need of mobility for their very important errands, they should be encouraged to use e-hailing services with only online or e-payment accepted.
E-hailing drivers, especially full-timers, may lose their income during the restriction period, and without us keeping their jobs remained active, they would not be able to feed their families along the period.
Therefore, again, if I were the minister, I would encourage the people to mobilise via e-hailing services with their trip fees paid online like Grab Pay.
E-hailing operators could also be encouraged to provide a special discount for every trip within Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.
On top of that, customers must be advised to not sit next to the driver in the car. “Passenger seats are at the back” must be fully and strictly taken into action in making this “move with e-hailing” idea a helpful effort for the people to transport themselves from one place to another without having close contact with drivers— that’s why the idea of paying trips online exists.
* Amerul Azry Abdul Aziz is an independent writer who now views politics as something that can be researched.
**The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of Astro AWANI.