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MCO: Restaurants may reopen for dine-in from 4th May with social distancing measures

[ UPDATE 1/05/2020 13:20]: National Security Council has provided Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for the reopening of restaurants. Details at the bottom of this post.


The Malaysian Prime Minister has announced that restaurants may reopen for dine-in customers starting this coming Monday, 4th May but with additional health and safety measures required.

For restaurants that are closed, they may return to their business premises in the next few days to replenish stock and to sanitise their tables, chairs, cooking equipment and utensils in preparation of their restaurant’s reopening.

Social Distancing and sanitisation

Restaurant owners must rearrange their tables with a minimum distance of 2 metres between tables. This is to ensure a safe distance between dine-in customers. Social distancing must be practised at all times and there should be a notice on the table on the maximum number of people permitted depending on the size of the table.

For a small table for 4, the Prime Minister suggest limiting one or two persons per table, while a large table for 8 may be limited to 3 to 4 persons. This must be determined by restaurant operators.

At the counter, there should be lines on the floor to ensure social distancing when customers queue up to make payment. There must be a distance of 1 metre between each line. Restaurants should also provide hand sanitiser at the counters and sufficient hand soap at the washroom.

Operators must also sanitise the tables and chairs immediately after each customer is done with their meals and before the next customer is seated. Restaurants must provide face masks to its employees and it must be worn at all times.

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Contact Tracing measures

Similar to supermarkets, all customers must undergo temperature checks before they are allowed to enter the restaurant. Restaurants must also record the name and contact number of all customers that enter their premises along with the date and time of visit. This is to help with contact tracing in case a customer is tested positive for COVID-19.

The Prime Minister iterated that restaurant operators must make the necessary preparations before they can reopen for dine-in customers. The same rule also applies to stalls and food truck operators. This is to ensure the safety of customers that dine-in at their premises. The government has also announced that jogging and selected outdoor activities will be permitted starting 4th May.

SOP for reopening

According to the National Security Council, restaurants with premises which include food courts and covered roadside stalls will be permitted to operate with 100% staff capacity between 5am to 12am, however, they are only allowed to serve customers between 7am to 10pm. The same operating hours also apply to businesses without premises such as food trucks, mobile hawkers and temporary roadside stalls

Body temperatures of all employees must be taken and recorded at the start of their work shift. For restaurants, the tables must be arranged at 2 metres apart while customers must maintain a minimum social distance of 1 metre. Restaurants are encouraged to use disposable biodegradable utensils and to use cleaning solutions that contain sodium hypochlorite in accordance with the Ministry of Health’s guidelines. Restaurants must also record the full name, IC number, telephone number and temperature readings of all employee and customers daily.

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Alexander Wong