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Retail groups urge govt to allow shops to reopen when 70% of public-facing staff fully vaccinated

KUALA LUMPUR (July 25): Retail groups are asking the government to allow shops to reopen for business, as long as 70% of public-facing workers are fully vaccinated.

In a joint statement, these associations said their proposed threshold of 70% was derived from the middle-ground of what constituted herd immunity, which is estimated by various sources to be achieved when 60% to 80% of the population is fully vaccinated.

They added that these businesses will only serve fully-inoculated patrons.

“For shopping malls, over and above the control of admission of shoppers who are determined by MySejahtera as ‘low-risk’ and ‘casual contact – no symptom’ status and with temperatures below 37.5 degrees, we will additionally check the vaccination status from the respective shopper's MySejahtera and only admit those who have been fully vaccinated.

“Thus, shops within the malls need not repeat this process and the mall will effectively become a type of green bubble environment. Furthermore, only customers who are fully vaccinated would be admitted,” they explained.

According to these associations, if all these conditions were implemented, the Covid-19 risks associated with opening all shops in malls would be manageable.

“This will thereby improve the chance for revival and survival of the retail businesses which have been severely damaged due to the current prolonged and unnecessary closures, despite the extremely low 0.8% of infected cases for shopping areas, as reported by the Ministry of Health.

“Malls will become a Green Bubble environment for the public to seek relief and release after being cooped up for so long, as well as for some physical exercise and mental health therapy,” they added.

Meanwhile, the groups also lauded the government’s decision to offer privileges to those who have been vaccinated, saying these were necessary to enable businesses to reopen safely and quickly.

“This should apply to all types of businesses including shopping malls, street front shops and other outlets, as well as entertainment, gym, spa, family entertainment centres, theme parks, waterparks and all other gated control attractions etc. This will stymie the escalating avalanche of business closures, layoffs and unemployment.”

“This vaccination dividend and privilege will invariably create further urgency to be vaccinated and we urge that more inoculation capacity and more PPVs be ramped up, thereby achieving herd immunity faster so that our economy can repair and recover earlier and with more certainty.

“We look forward to the earliest announcement, so that the economy can restart and recover, and halt the debilitating impact of prolonged lockdowns,” they added.

The statement was jointly issued by Persatuan Pengurusan Kompleks Malaysia (PPK) – Malaysia Shopping Malls Association; Malaysia Retailers Association (MRA); Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MRCA); Bumiputra Retailers Organisation (BRO); Malaysia REIT Managers Association (MRMA); and Malaysian Association of Theme Park and Family Attractions (MATFA).

As of yesterday (July 24), 11.51 million or 35.18% of the population have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, of which 5.4 million people or 16.5% of the population have received two doses.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin also announced that a relaxation of restrictions for fully-vaccinated people will be revealed in the next few days. Some of the freedoms that will given to this group include travel to Malaysia, interstate movements for spouses in long-distance relationships, social activities, sports, and dine-in at restaurants.

Last week, the government announced that it now aims to fully vaccinate all adults in Malaysia by October, with measures including ramping up daily doses administered to 500,000. Under Operation Surge Capacity, all adults in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur are expected to receive at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine by Aug 1, while all adults are expected to be jabbed at least once in Sarawak by the end of next month.

All states should record a vaccination rate of at least 50% by the end of August, followed by 70% in September.

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