People flock to malls for last-minute CNY shopping

SUBANG JAYA: The reopening of the retail sector yesterday saw people flocking to shopping malls in the Klang Valley for last-minute Chinese New Year shopping.

Checks at the Sunway Pyramid mall here saw many shoppers at clothing and fashion retail shops strictly adhering to the standard operating procedures (SOP).

Disposable gloves were provided at the entrances of the clothing and fashion stores, along with equipment to record customers’ particulars and temperature.

A retail assistant at one of the shops, who wanted to be known only as Ann, said the premises allowed a limited number of visitors at one time to ensure that physical distancing could be implemented.

“Customers are also required to wear disposable gloves as per the SOP by the government.”

Eric Lim, 42, said he came to the mall with his wife to buy new clothes for their two children for Chinese New Year.

“Tomorrow (today), my wife will be busy cooking for the reunion dinner, so we only have today (yesterday) to shop for new clothes for our children and buy groceries.”

He said the reopening of the retail sector was timely for those celebrating the Chinese New Year.

Although Lim hails from Johor, he will celebrate Chinese New Year with family members who live near his house in SS19 to comply with the SOP for the Chinese New Year celebration this year.

He said his sister and her family who live in USJ14 would be coming for a small reunion dinner under the new measures.

“This year, we cannot go back to Johor and Kedah (his wife’s hometown) as inter-state travel is still not allowed.

“(But) we will celebrate the new year differently this time. We will make video calls to our parents.”

A housewife, who wanted to be known as Ng, said she was relieved that the government allowed the retail sector to reopen.

“Our initial plan (before retail shops were allowed to open) was to wear last year’s clothes. Since the government has now allowed shops to open, we decided to come here to buy new clothes and shoes,” said Ng.

On how she felt about the SOP requiring customers to wear disposable gloves to prevent the spread of Covid-19, Ng said it was not an issue.

“Just like how we are now so used to taking our temperatures, scanning QR codes using the MySejahtera app or writing down our details prior to entering shops, getting customers to wear disposable gloves is not a problem.

“This is the new normal and it is for everybody’s safety.”

On Tuesday, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced the reopening of the retail sector starting yesterday to help small businesses and ensure their sustainability.

Other than clothing and fashion, Ismail Sabri said other retail shops allowed to reopen were accessory stores, shoe stores and shops specialising in photographic equipment and services.

Also back in business are florists and nurseries, handicraft shops, antique stores, carpet stores, sports equipment shops, cosmetic stores and vehicle accessory stores, among others.

Sunway Malls and Theme Parks chief executive officer H.C. Chan said the reopening of the retail sector before the Chinese New Year was very much anticipated by the business community.

“Certainly retailers and malls will look forward to catching up on making good sales. Hopefully, the festive shopping period can give some relief because sales had been largely affected these past three weeks,” he said.

“Fashion, accessories and related festive-themed services and products are expected to see some last-minute purchases since they are now permitted to open. We expect an increase in the crowd leading up to the Chinese New Year.”

He said about 90 per cent of shops at Sunway Pyramid had reopened yesterday.

Since inter-state and inter-district travels were not allowed, he said malls would also see bigger crowds from the first day of Chinese New Year onwards.

“We would like to stress the importance of adhering to the SOP to ensure everyone’s safety and wellbeing.”

The Chinese community will usher in the Year of the Ox tomorrow.

Source: New Straits Times


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