Covid-19: Sabah govt releases SOP on eve of shift to NRP Phase Two, but silent on dine-in

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The SOP did not specify if dine-in will be allowed, even though Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor had given the go-ahead from June 29. At the same time, it did not say dine-in is prohibited. — Picture by Julia Chan
The SOP did not specify if dine-in will be allowed, even though Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor had given the go-ahead from June 29. At the same time, it did not say dine-in is prohibited. — Picture by Julia Chan

KOTA KINABALU, July 9 — With hours to go before Sabah officially relaxes some Covid-19 rules under Phase Two of the National Recovery Plan, the state has yet to make it clear if eateries can set up tables and chairs for a dine-in experience once more.

According to the standard operating procedure released tonight, all eateries, including drive-throughs, will be allowed to open from 6am to 9pm for takeaway and delivery.

The SOP did not specify if dine-in will be allowed, even though Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor had given the go-ahead from June 29. At the same time, it did not say dine-in is prohibited.

Despite the apparent conflict with federal rules, the Sabah government has given tacit approval for eateries in the state to open for dine-in for the past 10 days. Local law enforcers have so far not issued any fine on anyone who flouted the federal SOP.

A government official said the omission was deliberate.

“It does not say dine-in is prohibited.

“In the National Recovery Plan, dine-in is only allowed under Phase Three. They were silent on this to cater to Sabah’s request,” the official told Malay Mail on condition of anonymity.

For other businesses, the new SOP for Phase Two allows grocery and convenience stores, supermarkets, mini markets, shopping malls and other stores to open from 6am to 8pm daily.

As for shops located inside shopping malls, only pharmacies and those selling food and beverages, the daily necessities, and hygiene products may open.

Petrol stations are allowed to operate from 5am to 10pm.

The state will also open up individual sports and recreational activities like jogging, on the spot exercises, taichi, fishing, cycling, golf, horse riding, archery, single tennis, shooting, and motorsports in open areas for physical and self exercise, but not for competition.

Those engaging in such activities must maintain a minimum distance of two to three metres from the next person at all times. They are also allowed to perform these activities within 10km of their home and between 6am and 7pm.

No picnics, group activities or contact sports are allowed.

Sabah’s interdistrict travel ban also remains, but Kota Kinabalu, Penampang and Putatan is officially one zone again.

Children under 12 remain barred from public spaces with the same exceptions as before.

Only two people from a household can travel in the same vehicle with an exception for three people allowed if seeking medical treatment.

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