State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in her capacity as Chairperson of the National-Level Central Committee for Prevention, Control and Treatment of COVID-19 discussed protective measures in reopening food shops and restaurants amid the COVID-19 pandemic in her video conference with relevant persons in this sector yesterday.
After words of greeting by the State Counsellor, U Win Htay, the managing director of Shwe Palin Business Group, explained about the habit and culture of Myanmar people going to restaurants and teashops; COVID-19 preventive measures at food shops and plans to continue such measures; and difficulties encountered in exercising COVID-19 preventive guidelines.
Daw Yin Yin Nyein, a consumer talked about the main reason why women go to restaurants and cafes; the difficulties encountered by small food shops in wards and roadside stalls mostly frequented by office employees and low-wage earners; and the need to manage the process of reopening these shops.
U Kyaw Myat Moe, the managing director of Khine Khine Kyaw Group Trading Company, explained about their efforts to ensure cleanliness and hygienic preparation of food; preparations for social distancing; and plans being made for reopening the restaurants by forming various committees for reviewing employees to bring them back to work, planning and implementation, healthcare, and training and education.
In response to the discussions, the State Counsellor stressed the need to ensure health safety when restaurants and cafes are reopened and to adopt the practice of “take-away” for small shops. She also spoke about the need for economic enterprises to resume operations, and the Union Government’s plans to assist and support the reopening of restaurants and roadside stalls.
In her concluding remarks, the State Counsellor said that she understood the challenges faced by food shop owners; she also believed that the people who were listening to the discussions would understand as well; the difficulties faced by the shop owners in making plans to reopen are related to what the people need to be aware of; the people need to be aware of these things and also need to participate and cooperate; the plan to reopen the food shops could succeed only if everyone participates and cooperates.
State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi emphasizes protective measures when food shops and restaurants reopen amid COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: MNA
She added that they wanted to reopen the food shops and restaurants as quickly as possible for the regular income of workers and employees who are relying on these shops; she also wished shop owners to restart their businesses; the success of businesses could help the economic development of the country; the government will do the best for the convenience of customers; roadside food stalls need to offer takeaway system although the use of plastic bags is getting high during this pandemic crisis; how to recycle the used plastics and how to prevent environmental contamination must also be considered by the Union Government as the impact of plastics is high. She added that advice of entrepreneurs and the people was required on how to control the high demand for plastics.
The State Counsellor continued saying that the practice of social distancing during the COVID-19 period was the most difficult issue for people; human beings wished to live in close friendship happily and that this culture could not be changed easily; that was why everyone needed to help others; in times like this people should learn to live without letting go of their friendships with others; that was why she wanted every individual to make an earnest effort. She assured that she has taken note of all the points made during the discussions; that the Union Government would seek out ways to offer help so that restaurants and food shops could be reopened as soon as possible; she understood the fact that it was the small roadside vendors who needed the most assistance and support. She added that they would take into careful consideration in what manner the roadside vendors could be permitted to reopen as soon as possible; she would coordinate with the Ministry of Health and Sports and issue the necessary rules and regulations to ensure that this matter was handled in a satisfactory manner.
The State Counsellor expressed thanks to all the food shop operators and their customers as both sides were interdependent; it was hoped that some shops would be able to open in the coming month and that all shops would not be able to reopen at the same time; necessary advice would have to be given depending on the situation and experience of those shops which were able to reopen; also what changes needed to be made and what kind of assistance and cooperation needed to be given would have to be taken into consideration. — MNA
(Translated by Kyaw Myaing)